Posted by: the watchmen | April 1, 2009

BBC Bias and Dr. Rowan Williams.

PREMIER NEWS REPORT

Your news from a Christian perspective: March 30, 2009

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of CanterburyArchbishop confronts BBC Director General over its treatment of religion
The Archbishop of Canterbury has accused the BBC of ignoring Christians.

Dr Rowan Williams has complained to the Director General, Mark Thompson, that the corporation’s religious programming is declining.

At a meeting at Lambeth Palace Dr Williams warned Mr Thompson that concerns were mounting among senior C of E members that the BBC is giving preferential treatment to minority faiths. He urged the BBC Director not to ignore its Christian audience.

The Archbishops concerns were raised after the head of religious programmes, Michael Wakelin, a Methodist preacher, left his position.

The favourite to succeed him is Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim who was commissioning editor for religion at Channel 4, along with the recent appointment of a Sikh to produce Songs of Praise, has raised fears within the Church that the Christian voice is being sidelined.

Last year Mr Thompson caused controversy when he suggested that Islam should be treated more sensitively by the media than Christianity because Muslims are a minority religion.

In a gathering of the Archbishops’ Council, last week, Dr Williams agreed with suggestions that the future of religious broadcasting is under threat.

And according to the Churches’ Media Council, Christians are now significantly under–represented at the Corporation. It has expressed concern that no senior member of the department has an academic qualification in religion.

Baptist minister Revd Paul Hill tells Premier he’s been writing to the broadcaster for some time on this issue.

“We are not, I believe, on a level playing field. We are having to campaign for our freedom of speech when others are given it as a right.”

He added: “I was very welcomed as a Christian in many mosques and we used to enjoy our times of debate. They want to continue that, I want to continue that and we don’t want governments or anybody else trying to impeed their freedom of speech or ours.”

The BBC said that changes made to the department were intended to strengthen the BBC’s offering of programmes.

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