C4 head: Church should do more with the media

The head of Channel 4, Andy Duncan, has said Christians need to “engage” more with media and new technologies in order to further their cause.

Mr Duncan, speaking in a seminar entitled “God and the media – an unholy alliance” at a recent Baptist Assembly, warned that Christians were not engaging with media as much as other faiths.

He said: “It’s interesting that we have a relatively low engagement from the Christian community.

“On occasions we get a lot more contact from other faith groups, who stress their side of the debate pretty heavily.”

He added: “Are Christians engaging enough? I think it’s an interesting question.”

Mr Duncan, who attends a Baptist church in Croydon, said that despite its many faults, he was “absolutely convinced” that media could be “a force for good”.

He commented on the profound effect of new media technologies on younger people.

He said: “The media world is changing very fast for the younger generation.

“The first thing my 14-year-old daughter will do when she comes home from school is go to the computer, ahead of the television.

“It’s really important for churches to be media savvy, to understand the importance of things like social websites for the younger generation.”

Mr Duncan also pointed out that religious programming often had a low number of viewers.

He said religious programmes were much more likely to screen on Channel 4 and the BBC, which are required to make religious programmes as public service broadcasters, than profit-driven TV stations such as ITV and Five.

Mr Duncan, quoted in the Baptist Times, said: “There are fewer programmes on religion than there used to be.”

He said: “There are far less money and resources.

“If we carry on the current trajectory, there will be even less about religion, including Christianity, which I think will be a real shame.”

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