BBC set to increase coverage of religions

The BBC is set to increase its coverage of religions after a year-long review found that people of all faiths were “often absent, poorly presented or satirised”.

The Guardian reports that the corporation’s religion and ethics review, which is out on Wednesday, proposes a variety of improvements such as including religious themes in popular dramas and soaps on both TV and radio, more documentaries covering religious and ethical issues being commissioned, and for popular programmes such as The One Show to celebrate Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish holy days.

The BBC newsroom’s global religious affairs team will be expanded and the Thought for the Day slot on Radio 4 will be more closely linked to news items with women and young people. Figures from a wider range of religions will be invited to contribute.

The proposals echo a new set of rules from Ofcom, which in October ordered the broadcaster to have more religious programmes on BBC One and BBC Two.

Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, told the Times: “[The plans] will ensure the BBC better reflects the UK, the world and the role that religion plays in everyday life. They will also raise understanding of the impact religion has on decisions made at home and abroad.”

The review involved consultations of more than 150 experts and faith leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the chief rabbi and senior Muslim figures, as well as groups such as Humanists UK.

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