Memorandum by D Reynolds
"How should faiths be represented in BBC
programmes, services and governance?"
If ignorance breeds fear, fear hatred and hatred
violence, then education has the opposite effect. To this extent,
then, it is desirable for the BBC to help each section of its
audience become more aware of the others. Therefore, the BBC should
not target programmes at particular religions. Just as faith-based
schools lead communities to grow apart (Barry Sheerman, chairman
of the Commons education select committee),
so faith-based programming coalesces audiences around separate
religions. Instead, the BBC should ensure that programmes generally
reflect the balance of views amongst the wider population.
That population today is more secular and non-theistic
than ever. The 2001 census presents a misleading picture,
because by asking the question, "What is your religion?"
respondents were encouraged to select a religion even if they
were not religious. Despite this, the second largest group, at
15.5 per cent (9.1 million), were those stating they had no religion.
This group was almost six times larger than the next religious
group. The trend is towards people believing what they can test
for themselves in preference to trusting ancient texts. Internationally
the half as many people self-identify as non-religious compared
Discussing education in schools, Ian Gibson, chair
of the Commons science and technology committee, said, "Education
has to be based on scientific facts."
Surely this requirement must extend to any remit provided to the
BBC. Programmes must not misrepresent fictitious or speculative
content as factual. The BBC must not proselytise. There must be
no place on the BBC for programming dedicated to religious worship.
All governors of the BBCor their proposed
replacementsshould be required openly to declare their
religious views, and any group with responsibility for overseeing
religious balance should have a make-up that reflects society
as a whole.
28 August 2005
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