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BBC to review its religion coverage: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 6. November 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Press criticism.
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The BBC has released the terms of reference for the review of its coverage of religion. The review led by former ITV chief executive Stuart Prebble will investigate the “breadth of opinion” by conducting a content analysis of the BBC’s coverage of religion, immigration, and the EU, by comparing its coverage of these issues in 2007 to its current coverage.

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten told a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch last month the review had been prompted by complaints that the corporation’s coverage of world news and religion was not always impartial.

“It’s an acceptance that these are areas where people are particularly concerned that we should get it right,” Lord Patten said. “We’ve been criticised in those areas and we think it’s very important to listen to that criticism, not necessarily because it’s right but because it reflects real and interesting concerns.”

The review will have four principal terms of reference:

“Whether decisions to include or omit perspectives in news stories and current affairs coverage have been reasonable and carefully reached, with consistently applied judgement across an appropriate range of output;

“Whether ‘due weight’ has been given to a range of perspectives or opinions – for example, views held by a minority should not necessarily be given equal weight to the prevailing consensus;

“Whether the opinions of audiences who participate through phone-ins or user-generated content have been given appropriate significance, and whether the use of audience views in this way has correctly interpreted the relative weight of opinions of those who have expressed a view on an issue; and

“Whether the BBC has ensured that those who hold minority views are aware they can take part in a debate such as a phone-in.

The BBC Trust has previously examined the impartiality of the Corporation’s coverage of business (published 2007); network news and current affairs coverage of the UK nations (2008); science (2011) and the Arab Spring (2012). The report is expected to be completed by early 2013.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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