BBC TV execs see faith coverage as ‘tiresome’

BBC television is in the hands of “secular and sceptical” executives who ignore religion, a Radio 4 presenter has said.

Bosses at the Corporation’s TV channels “view religious coverage as a rather tiresome obligation to be minimised rather than a rich and promising area to explore”, Roger Bolton said.

Mr Bolton is the latest BBC presenter to hit out at religious coverage at the Corporation, following Jeremy Vine and Simon Mayo who have also raised concerns.


Mr Bolton, who presents the Feedback programme, said it was baffling that a religious perspective was so often absent in the BBC’s news coverage.

And he called on BBC News to appoint a religion editor of similar prominence to business editor, Robert Peston.

He said: “BBC News requires a religion editor, able to appear on the networks to interpret the latest religious story at home and abroad, but more importantly to bring a religious perspective to the vast range of areas such as foreign affairs and medical dilemmas where that perspective is so often, and so bafflingly, absent”.


Mr Bolton, who made his comments at a religious broadcasting awards ceremony, said: “BBC television, unlike BBC Radio, seems to be in the hands of the secular and sceptical, who view religious coverage as a rather tiresome obligation to be minimised rather than a rich and promising area to explore”.

He also said that the role of head of religion at the BBC is made difficult by a lack of interest from channel controllers.

Mr Bolton said Aaqil Ahmed, the current head of religion at the Corporation and the second non-Christian in the post, has been given only limited scope in which to work.


A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC’s commitment to religion and ethics broadcasting is unequivocal. BBC News and Current Affairs has a dedicated religion correspondent, and topical religious and ethical affairs stories are featured across all our BBC networks”.

In January popular BBC presenter Simon Mayo said religion is “increasingly driven to the margin” on the BBC.

Mr Mayo, who is known as a Christian, also said there is an anti-Christian theme apparent in television comedians.


Mr Mayo commented: “They are at the forefront of the new atheism.”

Last year Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine said he believed it had become “almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God”.

He said he believed Christ is who he said he is, but didn’t think he could say so on his show.

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