Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Written Evidence

Memorandum by S Perry

Do different faiths (including no faith beliefs) figure sufficiently in BBC programmes and services?

There is an over-emphasis on the positive aspects of faith, with very little focus on the negative aspects. Atheism or non-faith is essentially ignored, presumably to avoid offending those of religion.

Atheism is essentially the belief that religion has got it wrong. The phrase "you're wrong" might offend religious leaders, but this offence should not be allowed to suppress the alternative view. Anything that encourages people to debate and think about religion must surely be a good thing.

How should faiths be represented in BBC programmes, services and governance?


Politically, the BBC must take an objective approach. This objective policy must be extended to religion if the BBC is going to be seen as truly independent.

Currently, BBC programming is surprisingly pro-religion. How many Atheists or believers without an organised religion have so far spoken on Radio 2's Thought for the Day?

If the BBC is to continue its religious programming, it needs to be objective. When addressing a religious belief or idea, perhaps it would be better if the following points were addressed:

    —    What arguments/evidence exists from the religious leaders to show this is right or truthful?

    —    What arguments/evidence exists from scientists or ethics experts that this is wrong or unethical? The BBC should not be afraid to give the impression of "this didn't happen" in the case of overwhelming scientific evidence (eg the Adam and Eve story).

    —    Does the view being given contradict what is written in the written text of the religion itself?

When discussing religious topics in the first place, currently the majority of subjects seem to be defined by the religious leaders themselves. They almost always focus on aspects of the religion that coincide with the public majorities' moral beliefs, so that people see only the positive side of religion. This isn't an objective approach. Rarely do we see a program investigating beliefs about homosexuality, non-virgin brides or other religions as they are taught according to the word of the Bible, Koran or other religious text. You need to show both sides to be objective.

8 October 2005

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006