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Humanists UK calls on Ofcom to guarantee equal BBC coverage of the non-religious

Humanists UK has called on Ofcom to make sure the BBC provides equal coverage for and about the non-religious to its religious programming, in its response to a consultation on the future of public service media.

In its submission to Ofcom, the BBC regulator, Humanists UK acknowledged the importance of public service media in creating programming that reflects and informs the public about society in all of its diversity. However, it also highlighted that the BBC is failing to make programmes specifically for or about non-religious people, beliefs, and behaviour, despite its legal and charter obligations to provide such coverage alongside its religious programming. This is despite the huge increase in numbers of the non-religious with the British Social Attitudes Survey revealing that 53% of British adults belong to no religion – reflecting a growing gulf between the religion or belief of the population and the BBC’s programming.

Rather than correcting the imbalance of programming in light of Humanists UK’s previous complaints on this issue, the BBC recently announced plans to increase its religious coverage, with no corresponding announcement of any similar coverage about the non-religious.

Humanists UK Director of Policy and Public Affairs Richy Thompson said:

‘Non-religious people and their beliefs have been consistently under-represented across the BBC’s programming for decades. This is despite the growing majority of the UK’s population belonging to no religion. It is imperative that the BBC better represents its license-fee payers and creates thought-provoking, interesting, and wide-ranging programmes for and about the non-religious.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read Ofcom’s Small Screen: Big Debate consultation on the future of public service media.

Read Humanists UK’s response.

Read the BBC’s announcement of its ‘Faith and Hope for Spring 2021’ plans.

Read more about Humanists UK’s work on broadcasting rights for the non-religious.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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