BBC in need of 'religion editor'

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The Independent Online

The BBC should appoint a religion editor to improve its coverage of faith issues, a leading broadcaster and journalist said last night.

Roger Bolton, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Feedback programme, told an awards ceremony in London that the religious perspective was often "bafflingly absent" both on air and behind the scenes in editorial discussions.

He added that BBC Television, unlike BBC Radio, appeared to be in the "hands of the secular and sceptical". A religion editor with a budget and power similar to those enjoyed by the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, is needed to interpret religious stories and bring a religious perspective to other areas of the news, he said.

Bolton made the remarks at the Sandford St Martin Trust awards for religious programme making. He is chairman of the judges for the television awards.

The Church of England General Synod has expressed "deep concern" about a reduction in religious broadcasting.

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