Humanists call for more programming about the non-religious

1 March, 2024

Humanists are banned from Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4

The proposed Media Bill, which would set new regulations for public service broadcasters (PSBs) such as the BBC, passed its second reading in the House of Lords last night.

The Bill removes explicit requirements for PSBs to provide programming specifically about ‘religion and other beliefs’ which would likely lead to a significant decrease in output. All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group member and Shadow Spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Thornton, raised this issue and that the Bill must be specifically inclusive of the non-religious. Even though current regulations explicitly require PSBs to produce programming on religion and belief, they have consistently failed in their duty to provide programming for and about the non-religious, meaning that a weakening of these regulations only raises further concern.

No programme has ever been broadcast on a national network in which humanists have been allowed directly to address humanists on humanism. The last time the BBC produced any content on TV or radio specifically about humanism was 1965. Meanwhile humanists continue to be excluded from Thought for the Day. Despite the fact that over half the population are non-religious, programming about the non-religious is consistently ignored.

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Kathy Riddick said:

‘The Media Bill’s second reading highlights a critical issue: the need for explicit inclusivity of non-religious perspectives in our public service broadcasting. Removing requirements for programming on ‘religion and other beliefs’ risks further sidelining the non-religious community, already underrepresented in mainstream media. 

Our media needs to reflect the diversity of beliefs and worldviews in society, ensuring that voices of humanists and the non-religious are put on equal footing with the religious. It has never been more important to understand and openly discuss the range of worldviews in our society.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Kathy Riddick at or phone 020 3675 0959.

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Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 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.