Sarah Springthorpe

Religion and the Media

The media is seen as being a very influential part of life.  With one half and hour television show or one newspaper article it has the ability to change peoples views and opinions of things.  This is why it is important for the Media to present things in an unbiased and non-stereotypical way.  This is shown in films, newspapers and television.

Describe the variety of specifically religious programmes on the four main television channels:

There is a wide range of television programmes broadcast every day.  Although religion is used as an issue in soaps and comedies, there are very few specifically religious programmes broadcast.  Most of the religious programmes are broadcast on a Sunday, this is probably because Sunday is seen as the Holy Day, the Sabbath to Christians.

On Sunday mornings the ‘Heaven and Earth’ show is aired on BBC1.  This deals with moral and religious issues.  They debate modern concerns and have guest appearances.  The presenters ask for feedback via e-mail and telephones.  This programme is aimed at adults but not necessarily religious people as some maybe interested in the moral debates.  ‘My favourite hymns’ is shown on ITV.  This allows celebrities to choose their favourite hymns and a church choir or a solo artist sings them.  The words are shown at the bottom of the screen so people at home can sing along.  It also allows people to talk about their faith and a Minister gives a service, including a prayer.  This maybe for people who cannot get to church but would still like to worship, for example, the elderly or people who are ill.  This is very similar to ‘Songs of Praise’, which is shown on a Sunday evening on BBC1.  This again shows a service being given in a different church each week, combining hymns with touching tales of belief from celebrities and ordinary people.  Again the words are shown at the bottom of the screen so people can join in at home.  Again I’d say ‘Songs of Praise’ is mainly shown for adults who are religious.

‘Heart of the Matter’ and ‘Everyman’ are two BBC1 shows, which come and go.  ‘Everyman’ makes short films about faith, superstition and morality.  It looks at the world and the way in which we try, and sometimes fail, to make sense of it.  ‘Heart of the Matter’ shows passionate debates on popular and moral dilemmas.  Again both of these programmes could appeal to non-religious people who want to watch for the moral issues.

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Documentaries, both on Christianity and other faiths are often shown.  These give people an insight into the religion and often help them to understand other people more, this is especially important as Britain is a multi-faith society.  Also leading up to Christmas and Easter more Christian programmes are shown, this is because both these occasions are to be celebrated by many.  Often cartoons are made for children, telling them stories from the Bible.

This quite clearly shows that religious programmes aren’t given a fair distribution, as most of them are shown on Sundays.  The viewing times are also ...

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