A Policy-UK Forum – Faith and the Media
14 December 2016
Being of Faith and Changing Society: Tolerance, Censorship and Freedom of Religion
To what extent should there be a limit to free speech and freedom of expression on issues of religion and faith, and what are the challenges of exercising these rights responsibly when they have the potential to cause offence?
Following the decision by Le Monde, and other French publications, to stop publishing the photographs of terrorists, what are the challenges of covering religious extremism and terrorist attacks?
To what extent does faith, or lack of faith, affect objectivity? (Can a young Earth creationist provide an impartial report on a story about evolution, and can a militant atheist report objectively on religious affairs?)
What are the challenges and opportunities for Ofcom, Impress, IPSO and other regulators in setting standards for the coverage and reporting of religious and faith based current affairs, and how might this impact on the freedom of the press and free-speech?
Chair: Roger Bolton, Trustee, Sandford St Martin Trust & Broadcaster
Katie Harrison Trustee, Church Media Network
Michael Wakelin Director, Coexist House
Peter Blackman Strategic Director, Save Our BBC
Briefly introduce self & Save Our BBC in context
Our views re religious broadcasting, lobbying in conjunction with Bp of Norwich & Sandford St Martin & via Modem http://saveourbbc.net/note-to-modem-matters-november-2016/
Recent confusion caused by Lord Tony Hall at VLV
What do Head of BBC Factual Scotland and James Purnell know about religion and ethics?
Never been greater need for religious literacy, especially in news and current affairs; today’s world cannot be fully understood except in faith and non-faith contexts
Songs of Praise to Calais
Radio Festival many years ago at Cambridge with session of interviewer with head of BNP, subsequently dismissed, and radical Muslim now deported.
Every reporter has their personal beliefs, values, football teams & politics: James Purnell; Chris Patten; Lord Reith; Alan Green.
Balance, transparency, honesty, independence, accuracy, fairness, respect – ALL YES and to be strongly regulated. But inevitably – Objectivity? Truth? My philosophical background suggests at best such are relative terms.
Found two research reports – need more up to date UK study?
Reporting Ethnicity & Religion: http://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2014/01/31/getting-the-facts-right-reporting-ethnicity-and-religion/
Reporting ethnicity & religion: https://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/3093/en/getting-the-facts-right:-reporting-ethnicity-and-religion see sections in this shortish Policy Brief on:
- What do Editors think?
- Who are the journalists covering religion?
- Obstacles to Good Reporting
All national media need Religious Editors
Ofcom and others need clear, strong regulatory framework for all religious media
But great that religion is now so much more integrated in broadcast programmes, especially on the BBC, than it was ten years ago
Life of Brian and Father Ted would not be made today because the audience wouldn’t understand the jokes because of widespread ignorance about faiths.