The BBC’s religious output is too Christian, an internal review by the Corporation has concluded, opening the way for more programmes on other faiths.
A report by Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s head of religion and ethics, has suggested Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths should get more airtime.
Interesting, because Sikhs and Hindus accused the BBC of pro-Muslim media and news bias.
Mr Ahmed’s appointment in 2009 was controversial because of allegations he had shown a pro-Islam bias in his previous role at Channel 4.
The report is now being considered by Lord Hall, the director general, who could make changes to make religious output less “disproportionate”, the Sunday Times (£) reported.
Mr Ahmed told a Commons meeting on religious literacy he had written a report for Lord Hall that would answer criticisms from non-Christian faiths that they were under-served.
Mr Ahmed said in a statement: “Christianity remains the cornerstone of our output and there are more hours dedicated to it than there are to other faiths.
“Our output in this area is not static, though.
“It has evolved over the years and we regularly assess it.”
He added: “We do look at the number of hours we produce, and measure that against the religious make-up of society.”
Asked whether greater coverage of other faiths could lead to cuts in Christian coverage, a BBC spokesman said it was too early to say which programmes were safe but added that Songs of Praise would be secure.
“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,” he added.
The number of Muslims in Britain has doubled in a decade to three million.
One Muslim leader suggested the review could lead to Friday prayers from a mosque being broadcast in the same way that Christian church services currently feature in the BBC’s schedules.
Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the BBC could televise Friday prayers from a mosque and extend coverage of Eid.
In another decade, after the Muslim population doubles again, they can show beheadings and stonings too.
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