16. Sep, 2017

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New Ofcom guidance could see the BBC make significant cuts to its religious output on Radio 4, according to reports.

The reports suggest there will be a slight rise in the amount of religion, music and arts on BBC One and BBC Two. But according to the Daily Telegraph, Radio 4 will no longer be required to broadcast religious services, science shows or arts programming.

In this recent piece from our archive, our president Terry Sanderson argues that the BBC is overdoing religion. Figures show that the corporation is devoting hundreds of hours to religious programming each year.

Terry argues that more of its scarce resources should be spent elsewhere. It is sensible, he says, to put them into programmes that people actually want to watch.

He says churches often put forward the familiar argument that there is an urgent need for more "religious literacy" in Britain. But "religious literacy" is never defined and can very quickly morph into evangelising and proselytising.

Interesting programmes about religion's role in the world - and its frequently dire consequences - are to be welcomed, Terry argues. But they must approach the topic objectively, and not be used as a propaganda platform.

It is not unreasonable that religious people should get a look in, he concludes. But it should be a proportionate look in. And the BBC should not be used as a platform for proselytising at public expense.

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New figures show that the BBC is devoting hundreds of hours of programming to religion each year. NSS president Terry Sanderson argues that more of its scarce resources should be spent elsewhere.
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