|Christine Morgan, BBC|
Some listeners felt that Radio 4 is "too Christian" and that "more religions should be represented", and in was their concerns which formed the starting point for the programme's main discussion.
The three people included in that discussion were all senior BBC figures:
- Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent
- Ashley Peatfield, BBC editor, religion and ethics
- Christine Morgan, BBC head of radio, religion and ethics
Christine Morgan, the most senior of the three, made the following statement, explaining that one of the main purposes of the BBC's coverage of religion is to promote multiculturalism to the British people:
Part of it is helping people to articulate what they want to do, part of it is explaining this fantastic multi-faith, multi-cultural society that we have back to Britain, if you like...
To those people who think the BBC still has a missionary zeal to show us all how "fantastic" multiculturalism is, well, here's pretty clear evidence that they do.
Ashley Peatfield added:
It's equally important for people in non-diverse areas to hear about people they don't rub shoulders with day to day.
A Feedback report shadowing BBC Radio Sheffield's recent (positive) reporting from the largest mosque in that part of Yorkshire followed, doubtless aimed at those very people.
Caroline Wyatt, characteristically, went somewhat against the BBC grain at one point though (thus reinforcing me and Sue's occasional past praise for her):
Television news...sometimes there is, amongst individual editors, a certain resistance to seeing things within a religious context, and I think partly because of fears of giving offence.
So if you are, for example, covering Islamist extremism, a lot of the time people say, "Ah, yes, but it's nothing to do with Islam". You say, "Well, actually, if you look at the theology, there is a theology there that we should be examining."
And I think that is something where sometimes people get nervous and they worry about giving offence, they worry about pigeon-holing.
And some of those worries are coming from a good place, but I think there is a realisation increasingly that to understand how we live together, how we identify ourselves, that people now realise they do need to know.
The rest of this edition of Feedback was taken up with a puff-like piece for Radio 4's Sunday and more on the Tim Farron-John Humphrys interview about the former's Christian faith (criticising the latter's lack of sensitivity). [Does Roger Bolton have it in for John Humphrys? Humph-bashing has become quite a regular feature of Feedback recently, as we've observed before - see here and here].