BBC to increase coverage of religions following yearlong review


(JTA) — The BBC said it will “raise our game” on religion by increasing the representation of religion on its television and radio dramas and documentaries.

On the heels of a yearlong review into its coverage of religion and ethics that was published Wednesday, the British Broadcasting Corp. also pledged to create a new global religious affairs team for the BBC News headed by a religion editor.

The BBC said it will feature more reports on non-Christian festivals including Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan and Eid. In addition, characters in popular drama programs on both television and radio will confront faith-based dilemmas.

The broadcaster has dubbed 2019 to be “A Year of Beliefs,” with programs “looking at how people make big decisions and where they get their moral values from.”

“BBC News will also broaden the range of interviewees and contributors to represent a wider range of opinions and practices,” the announcement said.

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was one of more than 150 faith leaders consulted by the BBC Religion and Ethics Review, the Jewish Chronicle reported. Members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews also were consulted.

“We are glad that the BBC has committed itself to expanding its coverage around religious festivals, and we would also like to see BBC coverage take into account the full diversity of the Jewish community in the UK and also for that coverage to strive to be both rigorous and accurate,” Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, told the Jewish Chronicle.

The BBC currently produces more religious coverage than any other broadcaster, with 7,000 hours devoted to faith programming. There have been cuts to religious programming in recent years, the Guardian reported.

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