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BBC chief explains why Christianity is treated differently on TV

Posted on Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:47 by Joy Tibbs
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BBC chief explains why Christianity is treated differently on TV images

BBC director-general Mark Thompson claims Christianity is treated less sensitively than other religions in the UK because it is more “broad-shouldered”.

He believes broadcasters are far more cautious when they refer to or represent other belief systems because the threat level in the complaints received can be significantly greater.

More than 45,000 complaints were made when the BBC showed Jerry Springer: The Opera in 2005. And hundreds of Christians protested outside BBC buildings, outraged at the continual swearing and the blasphemies it contained. The scene that caused the most controversy depicted Jesus wearing a nappy.

Mr Thompson is Catholic and says he hasn’t watched other well-known satires on Christianity because he is “quite personally sensitive to mockery of religious images”. But he says he had no regrets about showing the Jerry Springer film and that he had “thoroughly enjoyed it”.

Complainants argued that the BBC would never have allowed a similar show about Islam to go on air, and Mr Thompson agreed this was probably the case. He claims that: “For a Muslim, a depiction, particularly a comic or demeaning depiction, of the Prophet Mohammed, might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography.

“‘One of the mistakes secularists make is not to understand the character of what blasphemy feels like to someone who is a realist in their religious belief.”

He said that the best way of dealing with the issue is to avoid watching shows that viewers think they might find offensive.

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