The Church of England has called on the BBC to appoint a religion editor to bring more depth to the Corporation’s religious output.
Bishop of Manchester Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Church’s senior communications spokesman, said that it made little sense for areas such as arts and science to have editors, but not religion.
And he supported a previous call, made by Radio 4 presenter Roger Bolton, for the appointment of an editor, saying: “There has been at least one public call for the BBC to appoint a religion editor, to reflect the importance of religious literacy to any proper understanding of today’s world”.
He added: “We echo that call, which would provide a recognised expert to bring greater co-ordination and depth to the corporation’s religious output across all channels.
“We see no logical distinction between the genre of arts, science and business (all of which include reflecting and discerning between different opinions and perspectives, and have BBC editors) and that of religion (the landscape of which likewise demands a ‘trusted guide’ for both internal and external stakeholders).”
The Church’s call was made in a submission document in response to the BBC Trust’s review of Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio 7 which is to be rebranded as Radio 4 extra.
Bishop McCulloch said that these stations broadcasted “an unparalleled range and depth of religious programming which deserves grateful acknowledgement by all those concerned with increasing mutual understanding between people of all faiths and none.”
The report also noted that Radio 4 presents more than the required number of hours of religious programming.
In May Roger Bolton warned that BBC television was in the hands of “secular and sceptical” executives who ignore religion.
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”, Mr Bolton said.
Mr Bolton, who presents the Feedback programme on Radio 4, 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.
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.