Norwich Bishop speaks out on BBC cuts report
The Bishop of Norwich has spoken out after a report in the Sunday Telegraph that the BBC is set to make further cuts to its Religion and Ethics department in the new year.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, is the Church of England’s lead spokesman on media issues. He told the Telegraph that such cuts could threaten something which was “fundamental to our public life”.
“It seems to me that religion has already taken a hit,” he said. “It has already been reduced certainly in terms of its scope as an independent part of the BBC, at a time when we already need – as everyone acknowledges – more religious literacy in the nation.”
He warned that further cuts could “inevitably” endanger work to improve religious literacy and a further reduction in religious programming could hamper not only not only efforts to tackle extremism but ignorance about religion at a time when world events make religious literacy all the more important.
“What we need is intelligent religious broadcasting that runs counter to the narrative that religion is always extremist,” he said. “Most religion in the world is not extremist at all.
“One of the great things about the way in which the BBC has done its religious broadcasting over the years is that it has been intelligent, illuminating and entertaining. That is a counter to extremism itself.
“And the less religion that will be seen on the television and radio the more it will be seen to be extremist.”
A spokeswoman confirmed that the BBC was planning to “look at ways we can reduce costs” as it faced “huge financial challenges” but added that cuts would come from across the corporation.
Read more at Telegraph.co.uk
Pictured above is the Bishop of Norwich at the Norfolk Christian Digital Communications Awards.