Damned If You Don’t? Why Journalists Can’t Afford to Ignore Religion

Co-produced by the Sandford St Martin Trust, this sold-out debate was described by the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade as “one of the most illuminating Media Society events I’ve ever attended”.

For many journalists, for too long, religion has been an irrelevant, no-go area. Not any more. “Religion has never been more tangible in world affairs and public life” wrote AA Gill in the Sunday Times. In the Daily Telegraph, Edward Stourton wrote: “For millions of human beings, religion is what comes to mind when you think about who you are. Failing to recognise it can lead to serious journalistic mistakes.”

Do journalists need to raise their game and show a greater understanding of faith both at home and abroad? Or is the media already guilty of paying so much attention to what it identifies as ‘faith’ that it misrepresents what religions are really about? On Wednesday March 18, 2015, Ed Stourton, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme, chaired a lively debate on these questions featuring Dame Ann Leslie (award-winning foreign correspondent who has reported from more than 70 countries for the Daily Mail), Myriam Francois-Cerrah (writer and broadcaster on France and the Middle East for the New Statesman, Middle East Eye and Al Jazeera English), Roger Bolton (BBC presenter on Feedback, former presenter on Sunday, former editor of Panorama and This Week, and, trustee of the Sandford St Martin Trust), Steve Barnett (Professor of Communications at the University of Westminster and author of The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism) and contributors from the audience at London’s Groucho Club.

See also

» Roy Greenslade – ‘Journalists must see beyond religion to understand people’s actions

» Cathy Loughran’s – ‘Can journalists afford to ignore religion? Depends on what you believe

Listen to the debate here