The Christian Institute

News Release

Religious broadcasting bill welcomed

The Christian Institute today welcomed the Ten Minute Rule Bill by Edward Leigh MP to end the discrimination against religious bodies in UK broadcasting laws. The Bill will be moved on Tuesday 13th July 1999.

Colin Hart, Director of the Institute, said today:

“Religious bodies in the UK are not allowed to own a national radio licence, an ITV franchise or any of the new digital licences.

Of those European countries which allow independent national radio, none except the UK bans religious bodies from owning a national radio licence.

Its easier to broadcast pornography than the Christian faith.

Party political broadcasts can seek to recruit party members, but Church services broadcast on ITV cannot encourage people to become Christians.

Digital radio licences are currently being advertised all around the country. Unlike a group of atheists, religious groups cannot apply for any of them because of the 1996 Broadcasting Act. Neither can any company which has a Church leader on its Board of Directors.

I welcome the opinion of David Pannick QC that the UK’s broadcasting laws breach the European Convention on Human Rights. It is time that the Government changed the law to allow proper religious broadcasting freedom.”