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Saturday, 17 January 2009

BBC spending; Poster to print

The BBC is spending a minimum of £10 million a year on religious propaganda, it has been revealed.

The Religion and Ethics department that is spending the money has been accused of undermining the BBC's obligation to impartiality. The information was elicited through a Freedom of Information Act request by National Secular Society member Alan Rogers, who asked the Corporation how much it spent on its religious affairs department in Manchester.

In response, the BBC told him that the all-inclusive cost of the unit, programmes, staff and overheads in the financial year 2007/8 was £9.8 million.

This, of course, is only the tip of the religious iceberg at the BBC. Money taken from other budgets for religious programming is also substantial. For instance, the drama series telling the story of the last days of Jesus, The Passion, last year cost £4 million and that was from the Drama Department budget. The BBC launched accompanying literature with help from the Bible Society.

According to the BBC's latest annual report the amount of religion broadcast on BBC radio rose from 1,078 hours in 2006/7 period to 1,114 in the 2007/8 period.

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To celebrate and support the “atheist” posters appearing on buses in Britain and the United States there is now a poster (A4 size) available on the Humanists website (see sidebar), which you can print and display.

1 comment:

Stuart Hartill said...

One interesting question to the BBC might be to ask why they permit staff to simultaneously work for the BBC, have paid PR roles for churches and,in at least two cases I can think of, even 'advise' the BBC on programming decisions involving them as both BBC and church employees.
Two examples -
(1)the producer of 'The Passion is an Evangelical Alliance member who, in addition to running websites for the EA and other evangelical bodies, also, as a member of a BBC religious liason committee, 'advised' the BBC to make the film.
(2)a former tutor of mine is one of the senior staff members at the religious affairs department in Manchester. She is also the Catholic church's advisor on media liason. Since the late 1980's she has run a 'Christian communication' course at my old college which trains many of the current generation of Christian media professionals, is guaranteed to continue due to subsidy by the major churches and offers guaranteed employment by those churches to any graduate who chooses to do a final year 'project'requested by those churches.
On the plus side - in my day it always attracted dimwits who would be otherwise unemployable in the media, so no major problem for any literate secularist to expose and rubbish such tacky PR.