Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Written Evidence

Memorandum by V Howe

  As a keen BBC listener, I object to much of the policy on religious broadcasting. The question should not be whether different faiths figure sufficiently in BBC programmes and services, but why on earth they are given such prominence in our overwhelmingly secular society. For instance the dogma spouted on the Today programme's Thought for the Day slot is invariably irrelevant to my life, and thus irritating in the extreme. I have long since given up trying to find any meaning in the prattlings of Rabbis and Bishops. Where is the representation of more positive atheists like Humanists? The BBC singularly fails me in this important area. As for the question "how should faiths be represented in BBC programmes, services and governance?" My answer is a resounding not at all. If the BBC really want to connect to the licence fee payer they will do me a favour and jettison the religious cant. And if the BBC want to know how to better involve the public in its decision making processes they could stop assuming clerics represent us. In fact these reactionary patriarchs do not have the influence they claim and it is dangerous to encourage them. Instead the BBC should include atheists and humanists.

  I despair of the journalistic hand wringing that seems to inform much current affairs broadcasting. Sometimes it seems as if the BBC is so desperate to avoid offending some people, in a misguided effort at showing respect to all, that all rational thinking has gone out of the window. The BBC should formulate a policy that embraces our proud traditions of tolerance without getting into such a muddle.

2 September 2005

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