Diversify content, cater to religious minorities: BBC's internal review

London: The BBC should give more airtime to Hindu, Sikh and Muslim religious programmes and diversify its programmming to balance out its "too Christian" output, an internal review by its own ethics committee has recommended.

Aaqil Ahmed, BBC head of religion and ethics, has recommended in the report that the British public service broadcaster must diversify its religious programmes.

"Christianity remains the cornerstone of our output and there are more hours dedicated to it than there are to other faiths," Ahmed said in a statement.

Representational image. Getty images.

Representational image. Getty images.

"Our output in this area is not static, though. It has evolved over the years and we regularly assess it," he added.

The report recommended upping the number of programmes for Muslim, Sikh and Hindu audiences, saying that non-Christian faiths were under-represented in the broadcaster's output.

BBC director-general Tony Hall is considering the review's findings, which said the broadcaster's current output was "too Christian" and recommend more Hindu, Sikh and Muslim religious programmes be added to the mix, The Sunday Times reported.

The debate follows a government white paper last week on the BBC, which will require it to serve ethnic minorities better.

A BBC spokesperson said, "we are actually intending to do more programming around Christianity and more on other faiths as well, so there is absolutely no question of an 'either or' on our output."

The Church of England said faith – and Christianity – was growing worldwide and "any comprehensive review needs to move beyond arguments of mere proportionality to embrace the need not only for greater religious literacy but also increased resources to explore religious world views."

BBC's religious output currently includes 'Songs of Praise' and 'Sunday Morning Live' on television, plus 'Thought for the Day' and 'Act of Worship' on radio.

The Muslim Council of Britain suggests televising Friday prayers from a mosque would be one way to better serve Muslim viewers, but not at the cost of Christian programmes.

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Updated Date: May 17, 2016 23:58:47 IST

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