The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded today to the BBC Trust’s announcement that the exclusion of non-religious contributors to BBC 4’s Today programme’s Thought for the Day slot does not breach BBC guidelines.
Andrew Copson, BHA Director of Education and Public Affairs, said, ‘What a shame that the BBC Trust has not found the exclusively religious slot of Thought for the Day to be in breach of editorial guidelines. This is a real missed opportunity to correct the ongoing injustice of the exclusion of non-religious speakers on the programme. We can see no good reason whatever why humanists are barred from making their contribution.’
‘It is difficult to see how a policy of allowing only religious speakers to contribute, with unquestioned statements and positions, some of which stray very closely to the line of political opinions, does not contravene the BBC’s guidelines for impartiality. It is unlikely that there is elsewhere in BBC output a strand that is devoted to a particular point of view, expressed without interruption and with no right of reply.’
‘That Thought for the Day is, at present, reserved solely for religion clearly goes against both the spirit of the BBC Charter and also contemporary legislation. However, we look forward to continue to work with the BBC Executive and Mark Thompson on this important issue, and on the matter of humanist broadcasting more widely.’
For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson on 020 7079 3584 or 07534 248596
The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing and supporting the non-religious, campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief and is the largest organisation in the UK working for a secular society.