Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Written Evidence

Memorandum by Dr P Collier

  I feel very strongly that secularists are ignored by the BBC at the moment and there is very little if any programming which portrays the benefits of living a secular lifestyle. Secularists live their lives without the need for superstition or religious belief, approaching the world with an a-religious moral framework that can trace it routes to before many contemporary religions (see for example, On Duties III, by Cicero).

  The BBC deals with religion by allowing specific religious groups (principally Christians) an un-balanced portion of air time to talk about how great their particular god is or how profound their own brand of belief is. There is no counter discussion of how many people live happy, productive, caring and fulfilled lives without religious belief. If this was a political discussion and only one side of the debate was presented there would naturally, and quite rightly, be an outcry. It is logically inconsistent and contrary to the established tradition of fairness in the modern media to allow this one-sided view. Why does the BBC not insist on a fair discussion? Views for and against religion should be incorporated into religious programming.

  I hope that the committee will take this opportunity to re-examine the biased presentation of religion on the BBC and allow air time for secularist values and issues. We live in a time when very few people attend places of worship and much needed updating of the BBC's policy on this matter is required.

13 October 2005

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