Religious programmes could disappear from TV, MPs warn

Religious programmes could disappear from TV following overhaul of broadcasting laws, MPs warn

  • Channels could potentially axe less commercially viable programmes 

Religious programmes could disappear from television screens if broadcasting laws are overhauled, MPs have warned today.

During the Culture, Media and Sport Committee said new rules meant that broadcasters such as the ITV and Channel 4 could potentially axe programmes that are less commerically viable. 

If the plans go ahead, it means broadcasters will only be required to show news and current affairs and not other specific genres, such as shows about religion, science and international matters.

Media minister John Whittingham defended the plans, insisting the changes will mean channels will have more freedom with choosing the range of programmes they show.

Religious programmes have steadily declined over the years, all but disappearing from screens as British society has become more secular. 

The BBC has already slashed its budget for the Songs of Praise by 12.5 per cent. Pictured: Aled Jones presenting Songs of Praise 

The BBC will not be affected by the new laws as it is subject to its own quotas, the Telegraph reported. 

But it has already planned to slash the budget for its Songs of Praise which is the biggest religious programme within the UK, with more than one million viewers.

The programme’s budget could be slashed by 12.5 per cent from £4million to £3.5million.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, chairman of the CMS Committee, said: ‘With significant legislation like this coming along only once in a generation, it is vital the Government gets it right.

‘Our proposed changes to the Bill will ensure it is proportionate, future-proofed in a world of shifting viewing habits and rapid technological change, and most importantly in the very best interests of viewers and listeners.

‘It is vital that the Government prioritises the legislation in the upcoming fourth session of this Parliament.’

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