Sunday, April 13, 2008

BBC's Mark Thompson says UK broadcasters are 'over-cautious' on Islam

Mark Thompson is Director General of the BBC, and has warned broadcasters against becoming overly-cautious in their reporting on Islam - for fear of causing offence to Muslims. Speaking at Westminster Cathedral Mr Thompson, a practising Catholic, said there was ‘a growing nervousness about discussion about Islam and its relationship to the traditions and values of British and Western society as a whole’.

The Times continues:

He said that the BBC and other major channels ‘have a special responsibility’ to ensure that debates about ‘faith and society’ and about any religion ‘should not be foreclosed or censored’.

In an effort to demonstrate that his remarks were not targeted solely at ensuring that Islam received journalistic scrutiny, Mr Thompson also referred to his decision to broadcast Jerry Springer, The Opera despite an avalanche of complaints from Christians unhappy at the depiction of Jesus in the satire.

“There is no point having a BBC which isn’t prepared to stand up and be counted; which will do everything it can to mitigate potential religious offence; but which will always be forthright in the defence of freedom of speech and of impartiality,” he said.

The lecture, Faith and the Media, also discussed how religious broadcasting at the BBC developed from the secularist perspective of the 1960s and 1970s, when Mr Thompson worked on Everyman, to faith-oriented programmes that tap a ‘sharp revival of interest in the spiritual potential’.

He contrasted The Passion, a traditional portrayal of Jesus Christ’s last days written by Frank Deasey, with the previous attempt to tell the story of his life, Dennis Potter’s 1969 version of a self-doubting prophet in Son of Man.

“It is quite simply inconceivable that the BBC in the 1970s or 80s or indeed the 90s would have (shown) a drama about Christ’s passion across BBC One’s primetime schedule.”

This comes from the leader of an organisation that is content to consign the Bible to Room 101 but would not do the same to the Qur’an – for fear of causing offence to Muslims. It is content to produce a documentary on Jesus from the perspective of Islam, but would not do the same for Mohammed - for fear of causing offence to Muslims. It is content to screen programmes about Christians converting to Islam, but has not dared to examine conversions from Islam to Christianity - for fear of causing offence to Muslims.

Perhaps Mr Thompson would like to address the plank in his own eye before presuming to lecture the nation’s broadcasters on the splinters in theirs. After all, as a publicly-funded body, the BBC has a moral obligation to lead the way.

Incidentally, what is Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor up to? The pulpit of Westminster Cathedral appears to have become a veritable secularist-ecumenical Hyde Park Corner: first he permits Tony Blair to talk of the importance of ‘faith’, while not being repentant in the slightest of the decade of profoundly anti-Christian legislation he swept in. And now he gives a platform to the Director General of the BBC, which has an admitted anti-Christian bias.

By comparison, His Eminence would find Cranmer a spiritual ally and a moral friend, and so he keenly looks forward to receiving his invitation to address the faithful…


Anonymous oiznop said...

The man is a hypocrite. The BBC is a Islam-loving europhiliac national disgrace and the sooner it is privatised the better.

13 April 2008 at 17:26  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

I think this is a brave step for the BBC to take, given the number of threats they receive from some Muslim groups, according to acquaintances who work there

13 April 2008 at 17:51  
Anonymous laser beam said...

The BBC have been biased for years and they know it. Take the last News Watch programme, They were trying their best to make excuses for the totally biased reporting which covered the Tibet protests in London during the farcical Torch Relay. The Chinese government are like aliens on another planet struggling to understand human concepts and making a complete comical twat of themselves. This is a country which slaughters its own people in order to harvest their organs and sell them on. They just don't get it. I would rather burn in hell than live in that shit hole country called China. But aside from my opinions of China, in the meantime we all have to try and digest the plastic reality pumped out from the BBC. We all know whats going on, the days of glossing over reality with mind control psychology are waning fast. Thankfully an ever increasing number of younger people seem to be totally impervious to the old brain wash crap of the old days.

13 April 2008 at 18:36  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
perhaps westminister cathedral wishes to be a seen as the broadest of churches perhaps even the ultimate universal one??.

mark thompson is entitled to speak , but he is being a little shy of the truth , the bbc anti christian surley not !! the bbc being selective in its positive portrayal of christainity in the british vernacular , more likely .

it is strange that public broadcasting has now become a matter of appeasing liberal mind sets. one wonders if a blank screen would be the liberal end result for public broadcasting.

the bbc is stuffed full of nu labour supporters , so mark thompsons distinction of being roman catholic , is rather like ken livingstone admitting he is a londoner.

if only he admitted at how much money has been wasted or criticised the daily doses of high drama sex and violenece on this platform .

alas the DG has choosen islam , how can it be portrayed without a crushing liberal attack on its lack of modernity , a subject the bbc finds so much easier when portraying the C of E .

the question seems to be of whos public is the bbc now its servant

13 April 2008 at 22:17  
Anonymous wrinkled weasel said...

You may have missed the peculiar reporting of the latest terrorist trial - the one featuring the would be Glasgow Airport bombers.

Nowhere in the BBC's reports does it mention that these men are Muslims or Islamic extremists. Not in the headlines, not in the text. Nowhere. They are variously described as "Men" or "Doctors".

Since their raison d'etre was to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, I would have thought that it was a salient point.

The BBC is out of control. They no longer tell the truth. Their lies are principally lies of ommission and bias. News decisions are being made by people who are out of touch with reality, either due to pig ignorance or large quantities of Charlie being stuffed up their noses.

Like many others, I no longer have a TV. It is slightly inconvenient, but it is worth it because I refuse to pay for a propaganda organization that extorts money under threat of imprisonment.

13 April 2008 at 22:38  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

There are 2 ways of looking at this:

a) Mark Thompson is a hypocrite and his views can only match his deeds if you add the asides (muttered under the breath) and shown here in italics, but :

“There is no point having a BBC which isn’t prepared to stand up and be counted; which will do everything it can to mitigate potential religious offence to Muslims; but which will always be forthright in the defence of freedom of speech and of impartiality,when we have a trendy secularist who wishes to push the limits in their account of the Gospel in an exciting new approach ” he said.

...and afterwards, he and TB probably nudged each other and chortled - "they swallow it every time - hook, line and sinker".

b) Mark Thomson, although Director General of the BBC, has no power to control the BBC's output and the Corporation is shot through with Nu Labour phantasists who are inimical in their outlook to Christianity and British heritage.

I am inclined to believe proposition (b) which means that the BBC is pursuing its own agenda and is out of control. I would vote for any party who will get rid of it.

14 April 2008 at 00:44  
Anonymous Serf said...

but has not dared to examine conversions from Islam to Christianity

To be fair to the BBC, not many such converts would be exactly, how can I put it, dying to be on the programme.

14 April 2008 at 11:34  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

wrinkled weasel -

The BBC also don't call the Arab murderers from Gaza terrorists either. They are just "militants".

14 April 2008 at 13:01  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

The BBC's Beyond Belief (Radio 4) has dealt head-on with the issue of Muslim conversion to Christianity.

14 April 2008 at 20:13  

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