Norwich Bishop named new CofE media voice
By Keith Morris
The Archbishops of Canterbury
have named the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James
, as the Church of England’s
new lead spokesman on media issues.
Bishop Graham (pictured right) will succeed the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, in the role on November 1.
He has been involved in media issues for many years and worked with the BBC Trust and the Director General’s office to set up the Standing Conference on Religion and Belief in 2009. This bi-yearly conference succeeded the Central Religious Advisory Committee which Bishop Graham chaired from 2003.
Earlier he was the bishop who liaised with Diocesan Communicators and he maintains a very close working relationship with his own local and regional media.
Bishop Graham told Network Norfolk: “The media influences us all and features in all our lives. That is its power. So it’s a heavy responsibility I’ve been given by the Archbishops to be the lead spokesperson for the Church of England in this area.
"Some of the work will be behind the scenes supporting the staff of our Communications Department at Church House in London. Some I am already doing as Chair of the BBC Standing Conference on Religion & Belief which I helped to establish. There is sometimes a need to express the voice of the Church on media issues in the House of Lords and the General Synod.
"One issue close to my heart is the future of local radio which has an immensely positive community impact for very modest investment. Too often we see the media simply in national terms.”
Bishop Graham will work closely with other bishops who have responsibilities for relationships between the church and media: James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool (House of Lords Communications Select Committee); Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford (Religion in Media Network); Nick Baines, +Bradford-Elect (Sandford St Martin Trust and the Bishop for the Diocesan Communicators' network); and John Inge, Bishop of Worcester.
The Communications Office, Church House, will continue to support the bishops in their media policy roles.
Bishop Nigel has served with distinction in this role since 1993 and played a vital part in ensuring that the Communications Act 2003 carried a commitment to religious broadcasting and a clear definition of the genre. While serving on the Lords Select Committee on Communications from 2005 to 2010, the Committee published reports on the BBC Charter and Public Service Broadcasting, that included important references to religion.
He has also taken a lead on discussions with the BBC, independent broadcasters, Ofcom, and the DCMS, and in the development of a range of submissions from the Church on media issues.