Lords criticise Media Bill’s removal of requirement to include religious programmes

Feb 29, 2024 by

from Religion Media Centre:

Fourteen Lords have expressed concern at the changes in the new Media Bill which remove the requirement for public service broadcasters to include religion, arts and science programming. The Bill replaces this list of protected genres with the requirement to provide “a broad range of audiovisual content .. likely to meet the needs and satisfy the interests of as many different audiences as practicable”.

During its second reading in the Lords, the key points raised by Lords from all parties were that removing the specific genres risked reducing the number of programmes made, threatening public service broadcasting and overloading Ofcom by asking them to continue collecting data on programmes in these genres, without setting any metrics.

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, said: “Guaranteeing space for religion is not about propaganda for any particular faith or religion. The point is simply that you cannot understand the world if you do not understand religion… The fragilities of our world at present make attention to religion more important than ever, not less”.

Former BBC Director General, Lord Hall said: “This goes to the very heart of why public service broadcasting matters…the Bill does not define in a more granular fashion what.. the remit of public service broadcasting is – to provide, for example, programmes in education, science, the arts and religion. Faith, as we have heard, is so important for matters of international significance”. The bill now goes to Lords committee stage where amendments will be voted on. The Hansard record of debate here. Parliament TV recording here.


Related Posts


Share This