C of E slams BBC for cutting in-house religious programming team
by Alex Williams, Premier:
The Church of England has criticised a decision by the BBC to close its in-house religion and ethics television production department.
Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, who comments for the Church of media affairs, was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying: “It is a failure of the BBC as a public service broadcaster.”
He spoke after director of factual at BBC Studios, Lisa Opie, warned staff in a leaked email the recent loss of the contract to produce Songs of Praise “means we will no longer have a permanent religion and ethics department in Salford.”
Bishop Graham said it was a “strange” decision, given the BBC’s pledge to the watchdog Ofcom – which begins regulating the corporation on Monday – that it would boost religious programming.
The BBC refused to say how many staff it now has in religion and ethics or how many might be lost following the changes; however, it did confirm an undisclosed number would remain.
See also: The BBC and Religion: bad decisions, badly timed, by Roger Bolton, Church Times
Will the BBC’s new approach lead to The Great British Pray-Off? Guardian Editorial