Inspire Magazine, 23 Jan 09

Friday, 23 January 2009 05:10
Critical understanding of religion vital, says TV Producer While institutional religion is in decline in Britain, the diversification of faith in this country and the massive global impact of religion means that it is an appropriate subject for thoughtful TV programming. That is the view of Jeremy Dear, executive producer at Pioneer Productions, whose six-part Christianity: A History series continues on Channel 4 on Sundays at 7pm. "In the last five years, programmes about religion on the terrestrial channels have never been more prominent," says Dear in an article in the Independent newspaper - contradicting those lobby groups that say it is being marginalised. On the other hand, Dear also disputes the generalised claims of some hard-line secularists that programming about religion is automatically 'propaganda' and should be excluded from scheduling. He declares: "In the wake of September 11 [broadcasters have] woken up to the fact that not everyone shares a post-Enlightenment, rationalist view of the world. For billions of people, faith is still very much a 'live' issue and if we're to understand the world, it's critical that we understand the beliefs that those people espouse." The key word, he believes is 'critical' - which means probing and understanding,…

National Secular Society, 16 Jan 09

Friday, 16 January 2009 05:09
BBC’s expensive religious affairs department accused of misrepresentation Read the full article on the National Secular Society website.

The Observer, 11 Jan 09

Sunday, 11 January 2009 05:09
BBC sorry for 'misquoting' expert's viewsEdited broadcast was 'opposite' of original view By Jamie Doward, home affairs editor Published in The Observer, Sunday 11 January 2009 The BBC has been forced to apologise to an acclaimed psychologist and writer after editing her derogatory comments about religion so that a radio programme broadcast "the opposite" of what she had said. Dorothy Rowe complained to the corporation that her interview on the Radio 2 programme What Do You Believe? had been so heavily edited that the final version misrepresented her views. During a 50-minute recorded interview, Rowe, best known for her work on depression, had attempted to comment on the subject proposed by the programme's producer: "Why so many people want to believe in God and search for faith." But she was aghast to hear how her words were eventually used. In an email to the corporation, published on her website, Rowe stated: "My words were edited to make it sound that I held a favourable opinion of religion in that it gave a structure to a person's life. What was not broadcast was what I had said about how such structures can be damaging to people. Being misquoted in this way…

BBC Apology - 1. Introduction

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 05:13
This is not a complaint about the BBC. It is a complaint about the way a recorded interview was edited by a producer working for the BBC Religion and Ethics Department. The result was that what was broadcast was the opposite of what I had actually said. Why this producer failed to maintain the high standards of the BBC I do not know. I had been interviewed at considerable length by John McCarthy and later, more briefly, by the producer Dawn Bryan (see email 10). In the broadcast programme What I Believe on Radio 2 on October 21, 2008, I can be heard twice, once for 27 seconds when I said that I had no religious beliefs, and once for 67 seconds when my words were edited to make it sound that I held a favourable opinion of religion in that it gave a structure to a person’s life. What was not broadcast was what I had said about how such structures can be damaging to people. Being misquoted in this way concerned me greatly. When I write or lecture, I try to make what I say as clear and as consistent as possible. Having something in the public domain…

BBC Apology - 2. Summary of Events

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 05:12
  1 September 11: email from Tom Williams, Aitken Alexander Associates, DR’s literary agents, forwarding email from Charlotte King-Manchester, Researcher, Faith in the World Week, BBC Radio Two. 2 September 11: DR's reply to Charlotte King-Manchester, accepting invitation. 3 September 18: DR to Broadcasting House for interview by John McCarthy, recorded by Charlotte K-M (link to interview) 50:31 mins. 4 September 22: email from C K-M thanking DR and promising to send DR copy of the interview 5 September 26: DR’s reply 6 October 6: email from Tom Williams forwarding email from Dawn Bryan, producer of the programme, requesting a further interview with DR 7 October 6: DR’s reply agreeing to this 8 October 6: Dawn Bryan to DR 9 October 6:email to DR from Kirsty Wither, assistant to Dawn Bryan 10 October 7: DR to BBC Weston House to talk down the line to Dawn Bryan 11 October 7: DR email to Dawn Bryan 12 October 17: DR to CK-M 13 October 17: CK-M to DR 14 October 17: DR and John McCarthy had planned to have lunch at some date to go on with their discussion. Unable to arrange a date, DR emailed JMcC 15 October 21 Programme…

BBC Apology - 4. Doves and Hawks

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 05:11
Jill Tweedie once wrote an article for the Guardian about her encounter with some evangelical Christians. Jill noted their smiling, joyous certainty about their salvation, and called them doves, in contrast to the dour, punitive Christian fundamentalists whom she called the hawks. She related that, as her encounter with this group of doves ended, she saw in their eyes the cold, steely glint of the hawk. I’ve been encountering quite a few doves and hawks at the talks and interviews I’ve been giving about my new book What Should I Believe? I find that they fall into three groups, namely, the vulnerable doves, the hawks masquerading as doves, and the proud, vigilante hawks. The proud, vigilante hawks examine me and dismiss me coldly. In another time and place, they would have sent me to the stake with a wave of their hand. The hawks masquerading as doves wait until the event is ending and then they advance on me to patronise me. If being patronised were fatal, I’d have died weeks ago. The poor, vulnerable doves cannot contain their distress at my suggestion that their most dearly held belief might be a fantasy. Life is difficult, and we all need a…

BBC Apology - 3. Emails linked to Summary

Tuesday, 30 December 2008 05:11
1 From: Tom WilliamsSent: 11 September 2008 12:24To: Dorothy RoweSubject: FW: DOROTHY ROWE - BBC Radio Two documentary on why we believe in God Dear Dorothy, Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this discussion programme.  It should all be able to be done over the phone or at your house. With best wishes, Tom WilliamsAitken Alexander Associates, From: Charlotte King-Manchester Sent: 10 September 2008 17:51To: Tom WilliamsSubject: DOROTHY ROWE - BBC Radio Two documentary on why we believe in God Dear Tom Williams, I'm writing to ask whether Dorothy Rowe might be able to take part in a programme I'm setting up for BBC Radio Two. It's an hour-long documentary for Faith in the World Week - a week of special programmes exploring religious belief around the world, made by the BBC's Religion and Ethics department. This documentary will ask where does religious faith come from and, in an age when secular voices tell us that scientific reason has replaced religion, why do so many of us still want to believe in God and search for faith? It'll be a fairly touchy-feely documentary with lots of music, as well as interviews with celebrities, experts (both…