Justin Welby: Religion on TV needs to be on par with politics

Tue 07 Jun 2016
By Hannah Tooley

The Archbishop of Canterbury says broadcasters are failing religion and do not take it seriously enough on TV. 

Justin Welby has said that religion on television needs to be on a par with politics and sports when it comes to reporting.

Speaking to the Radio Times about a restructure of the BBC he said: "The white paper proposes a reshaping of the BBC... Surely there must now be a place for religious literacy in there - to improve people's understanding of the modern world.

"It is impossible to understand the world today without an understanding of religion."



He is expected to outline his calls in a speech at Lambeth Palace which is hosting the Stanford St Martin awards for religious broadcasting.

The archbishop has stressed that it is key to have a better understanding of world religions and to promote religious literacy.

He wants the "promotion of religious literacy" to be written into the new BBC charter and wants religion to be addressed with the same prominence as genres "like sport, politics, economics and drama."

Anthony Devlin/PA Wire


Expressing it's importance, he said: "Religion is about the stuff of life.

"It's about people and communities, and what drives them.

The White Paper which looks at a reshuffle of the BBC says it will "accurately and authentically represent and portray the lives of the people of the UK today, and raise awareness of the different cultures and alternative viewpoints that make up its society".

The archbishop said: "I support the case that the Trust is making that the promotion of religious literacy should be a specific duty for the BBC across its broadcasting services." 

A recent report concluded that the BBC is too Christian and does not create enough content relating to other faiths like Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam.

Dr Jenny Taylor is a Christian and the founder of Lapido Media, a charity which campaigns for greater religious literacy and understanding of faith in the media.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, she said: "It's terribly important for a secular culture to understand that religion is not just a matter of opinion with no consequence, that it actually shapes political and social life.

"It is the creator and generator of allegiance and of motivate - that goes for everybody.

"I think we're treating it in the wrong way, I don't think religion is an object like sport. It's not something out there that we have to look at.

"It's a worldview through which we have to see everything."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Dr Jenny Taylor on the News Hour:

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