THINKING ANGLICANS

General Synod – Wednesday's Broadcasting debate

Synod debated this private member’s motion on religious broadcasting, proposed by Nigel Holmes, this (Wednesday) morning:

That this Synod call upon the BBC and Ofcom to explain why British television, which was once exemplary in its coverage of religious and ethical issues, now marginalizes the few such programmes which remain and completely ignored the Christian significance of Good Friday 2009.

An amendment was moved by the Bishop of Manchester, and carried by Synod, which reworded the motion to read:

That this Synod

(a) express its appreciation of the vital role played by those engaged in communicating religious belief and practice through the media, at a time of changes within the industry; and

(b) express its deep concern about the overall reduction in religious broadcasting across British television in recent years, and call upon mainstream broadcasters to nurture and develop the expertise to create and commission high quality religious content across the full range of their output, particularly material that imaginatively marks major festivals and portrays acts of worship.

The amended motion was carried by 267 votes in favour with 4 against and 2 recorded abstentions.

Here are some press reports.

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Synod rejects motion attacking broadcasters over lack of religious programmes

Martha Linden of the Press Association in the Independent Church concern over religious broadcast hours

Avril Ormsby of Reuters UK Church of England laments drop in religious TV programmes

The BBC has Church of England concerned by ‘religious TV cuts’

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Richard Ashby

Here’s an occasion when one might well thank the Bishop of Manchester for his amendment, replacing a wholly negative motion with one which commends what is good and seeks to build on that. Leaving aside Songs of Praise which I can’t stand, but others obviously value, it seems to me that there has been a great deal on the television recently (not to mention the radio) about religious and ethical matters. These include Diarmaid’s History and the currently running series on the Bible which has asked some very good questions about how we perceive myth and story and must be… Read more »