The BBC is anti-Christian and ageist – according to a survey it carried out itself. Viewers also felt that minority groups were over-represented by the Corporation, writes the Daily Mail.
“They expressed concerns over ‘tokenism’ and ‘box-ticking’ and warned the broadcaster against trying to ‘manipulate’ an equal society instead of reflecting reality.
The survey was conducted as part of the BBC’s ‘Diversity Strategy’ and involved 4,500 people, including some BBC staff. Some viewers still believe the broadcaster has a Left-wing or ‘liberal bias’, the consultation found. Others said ‘positive discrimination’ was still a ‘notable’ problem with the BBC’s recruitment process.
According to viewers, Christians are badly treated with ‘derogatory stereotypes’ which portray them as ‘weak’ or ‘bigoted’. It was suggested that there was a bias against Christianity and that other religions were better represented. And some felt older women were being ‘marginalised’.
The consultation concluded: ‘In terms of religion, there were many who perceived the BBC to be anti-Christian and as such misrepresenting Christianity.’ It added: ‘Christians are specifically mentioned as being badly treated, with a suggestion that more minority religions are better represented despite Christianity being the most widely observed religion within Britain.’ One respondent said: ‘As a Christian I find that the BBC’s representation of Christianity is mainly inaccurate, portraying incorrect, often derogatory stereotypes.’
Another added: ‘Seldom do we find a Christian portrayed in drama, and when we do, it is usually a “weak” person or a “bigot”.’ Another said Christians were ‘represented as dogmatic and unsympathetic or as weak and washy and woolly, or as old.’ Last year the BBC was accused of bias against Christianity in EastEnders over its portrayal of murderous pastor Lucas Johnson, who was obsessed with the Bible.
And the Corporation sparked outrage in 2005 when it aired the controversial Jerry Springer: The Opera. It was one of the most complained about shows in television history. The report said other respondents has raised the same issue in terms of Muslims.
Last year the BBC was accused of bias against Christianity in Eastenders over its portrayal of murderous pastor Lucas Johnson, who was obsessed with the Bible. The research also uncovered major concerns about ageism, saying: ‘Respondents feel that older women and disabled people are marginalised.
‘Both public and staff respondents commented that ageism within the organisation is one of the BBC’s most pressing equality and diversity issues.’ It was even suggested that one member of staff only employs ‘good-looking people’. Elsewhere, viewers said that in some cases the inclusion of a wide range of minority groups in BBC shows felt ‘forced’, ‘tokenistic’ or simply done to ‘tick boxes’.
Among the examples given was how historical dramas were made ‘unrealistic’ by the inclusion of black or Asian characters who would not have been associated with certain events. As a result the BBC was accused of failing to provide enough programming representing white, less well-off audiences. Some also accused the Corporation of representing poverty by using a regional accent. One even said that working class people were often portrayed as ‘ignorant scumbags’.
Only 35 per cent of BBC staff agreed that incidents of bullying and harassment were taken seriously. There were reports of senior bosses ‘looking the other way’ and a ‘culture that allows bullying to flourish’. One respondent said women back from maternity leave were ‘deemed as having no ambition’.
It is not known exactly how many respondents expressed the view that the BBC was anti-Christian or ages. But 65 per cent of the public surveyed said the Corporation was poor or very poor at its contribution to creating an equal society. A BBC spokesman said: ‘The BBC does not have an anti-Christian bias.
‘We have strict editorial guidelines on impartiality, including religious perspectives, and Christian programming forms the majority and the cornerstone of our religion and ethical output.’ “