The controller of the BBC News channel, BBC News at One and deputy head of the BBC Newsroom, Kevin Bakhurst, has responded to criticisms of the broadcaster’s coverage of a pagan festival on Halloween, Sunday 31 October.
On the BBC’s The Editors blog, Bakhurst refers to a Telegraph blog post by Damian Thompson who wrote that the BBC’s religious affairs correspondent was “enchanted by paganism” and a Daily Mail headline: “BBC accused of neglecting Christianity as it devotes time to pagan festival”, before explaining the editorial decisions behind the coverage.
It was Halloween. A good chance, we thought, to explore the background to paganism. I would simply suggest that the decision to cover some aspects of paganism on one day indicates an interest in the fact there is in the UK a range of faiths – and among some a lack of faith. Our reporting should be seen in the context of BBC News’s wider coverage of religion and religious events where stories, as ever, are based on topicality and editorial merit. And Christianity – being the country’s main religion – still remains the faith with the most coverage