A new podcast series, “In Good Faith,” exploring the relationship between religion and the media has been launched by the Baha’i Office of Public Affairs in the United Kingdom.
This podcast is part of the Office’s long-standing efforts to contribute to the discourse on the role of media in society. In recent years, the Office has brought together journalists, representatives of civil society, and leaders of faith communities to ask searching questions, such as how the media shapes public dialogue.
“We’re finding that more and more journalists and media practitioners are interested in thoughtful discussions on how the relationship between religion and the media can evolve in a constructive way,” says Sophie Gregory of the Office of Public Affairs.
The first episode in the series explores the representation of religion in the media, bringing together Rizwana Hamid, Director of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Centre for Media Monitoring, and Rosie Dawson, a freelance religion journalist and former producer for BBC Radio.
Ms. Dawson states: “In order to have a more rounded representation of religion, there needs to be some sort of restraint on sensationalist news reporting, which sees things as black and white. … That is the most important change that could happen, I would imagine.”
She argues that part of the challenge is that news coverage of people acting for the common good rarely reveals the source of motivation: their religious convictions. “You wouldn’t necessarily see it. … People don’t put up their hand to say ‘I’m doing this because I’m a Christian, or a Muslim.’ It’s just part of who they are.”
Ms. Gregory, reflecting on the future of the podcast, states: “We hope that ‘In Good Faith’ can stimulate deeper reflection on religion’s constructive powers for the betterment of society and the important role the media can play in channeling that power to promote harmony among people.”
The first episode of the podcast is available here.