The recent publication of the BBC Religion and Ethics Review has been welcomed by church leaders as ‘positive’ and ‘encouraging’.
The Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, writes in his foreword: ‘We know – our research tells us – that today’s audiences are interested in learning more in this area. People of all ages, and of all faiths and none, think it is important to learn about religion in general. They recognise that, if we truly want to make sense of the world, we need to understand the systems of belief that underpin it. For the BBC, this is a fundamental part of our responsibility. It has also, perhaps, never been more important for us to get it right.’
And so, the review has promised a commitment to: ‘accurately portray the diversity of beliefs in our society, to helping people understand their values and decisions, and to increasing specialist knowledge of religion in the news.’ A new post of Religion Editor will be put in place, along with a global team containing new reporters, with specific religious experience.
The Bishop of Repton, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, has welcomed the BBC’s new plans. She points out: ‘Religion is a force to be reckoned with across the world. It is not in decline: it needs to be taken seriously and understood properly if we are to make sense of the world around us, understand our history and culture, and live in peace with our neighbour.’
Perhaps we should put more pressure on BBC Scotland to introduce more religious programmes here and reflect the difference between England and Scotland e.g. how many really know the difference between CofE and SEC and the subtle nuances? We must protect our identity!