London Atheist Activist Group (informal community) Message Board ONGOING CAMPAIGNS REMIT 1: "ASK FOR EVIDENCE" (Faith is a vice, not a virtue!) › PERMANENT CAMPAIGN: Oppose media religious bias and censorship (takes 2 min

PERMANENT CAMPAIGN: Oppose media religious bias and censorship (takes 2 min to send an email which= 100K proxy vote!)

user 52098782
London, GB
Post #: 3
The last time I came to a meeting (been a while crying ) we were talking about the idea of an athiest TV channel on a similar note I have an idea for a campaign.

The BBC are undertaking an internal enquiry into their coverage of religion.


The BBC massively supports religious privilege by its deferential attitude, religious programs no one is interested in and overstating the importance of the views of religious "leaders". I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been infuriated by this (and I watch fox news for fun).

This is an important thing we can campaign on for several reasons;

  • It is an unexpected campaign that could interest people.
  • We will be raising consciousness so that people will begin to recognise other incidences of religious privilege.
  • We can put religious privilege and the clerical classes on the defence.
  • With the influence of the religious agenda the BBC could get even worse

How can we go about campaigning?

  • Finding out the details of the enquiry (even if there is not a public call for evidence you can bet the clerical classes will be lobbying behind the scenes)
  • Gather evidence of where the BBC's deference to religious privilege misinforms viewers, stops value for money and is otherwise biased.
  • Raise awareness and get people to join a letter writing campaign
  • Any other ideas

Possible outcomes

  • Unlikely but possible new neutrality guidelines that strike a blow against religious privilege and reform of waste of space programming.
  • Possible religious press reaction that will make them look stupid when we can show clear evidence of the problem
  • Possible positive press coverage
  • More people noticing the religious deference and questioning it.

I will be doing further research on this and will post links.

On another note, I'm really glad I found this group and would like to work with anyone involved on campaigns using my free time and own experience. Now things have settled down a bit in my life I hope to make it to more meetings.
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 826
Alastair ...this is absolutely BRILLIANT!

On another thread we were discussing that perhaps our main focus should be to uncouple the idea of morality or ethics from religion. ...and this is exactly that. Let's do it!

We have so many good ideas as a group but we're short of people with enough time to actually get most of them off the ground. If you'd like to 'own' this as a LAAG campaign then Martyn, Adrian and I, (no doubt along with quite a few of our other premium LAAGers (!)) will give you whatever support we can.

Look forward to hearing more when you've had time to research it, and feel free to email us if you need any help etc.

Great stuff!
Guildford, GB
Post #: 329
This is a good idea!

At first glance though, and bearing in mind current 'religious sensibilities' I suspect that this campaign is not about the coverage / balance of religion as a whole, but to try to placate the vocal Islamists who are accusing the BBC of bias towards the BBC's Christian point of view.

My guess is there's a few 'intellectual liberals' setting policy somewhere in the depths of the BBC trying to gain favour with the rising tide of Islam.

Maybe an Arab has recently moved into Kensington and has scared the willies out of a BBC exec.

It would be so nice to rock the boat and get them to give equal time to atheism though, although personally I think the balance should be 50/50 for atheism against each religion.

My guess is that they're going to be blinkered. If it isn't a means of pleasing Islamists while keeping the (nice) Christians happy too, they won't be interested.

The rational don't explode.

I'm not sure about the direction you think it's best to take. Equal time for atheism? Equal time for voodoo? You might like to consider getting the BBC to display those riders before / after certain programs (there's a thread here somewhere mentioning that). I suggest insisting they say something like: -

Health Warning: If you are of a different religion, you may find the content of this programme heretical. Please turn this programme off immediately before your spiritual health is compromised.

Otherwise the BBC could be sued couldn't they? Is there a lawyer reading this?

or: -

Caution: No other religion supports the assertions made by the religion discussed in the following programme.

or: -

Caution: None of the assertions made by the religion mentioned in this programme has yet been verified by science.

or: -

Caution: Undertaking the practices recommended by the religion mentioned in this programme may be injurious to your mental health.

They won't do it though. It upsets everyone except the rational (who wouldn't be watching anyway).

You have my support and if I can help, I shall. In the (Greenwich) meantime I shall also ponder further (can one ponder not-further?) to see if I can add something constructive to help.
Alex D
London, GB
Post #: 171
How about they run subtitles along the bottom of religious programmes, such as "provably false", "assertion with no evidence", "distortion", "false analogy", "call to authority" etc etc? They could even use this to try to boost the pitifully low ratings for religious programmes by turning it into a game of Logical Fallacy Bingo.
Should do the same with politicians, too.

For apportioning religulous airtime, if it's not just going to get weighted according to viewing figures like most other topics (in which case there would likely be NO religious programming), then the only logical way would be to make it proportional to religious affiliation - but then you're at the mercy of which survey you choose. On the census people tend to label themselves 'tribally' rather than by what they actually practice, and adults also sign up their children, hence we get 70% 'christian' and 15% 'none' (and 0.7% 'jedi', beating sikhs into 5th place after 3% moslem and 1% hindu). But according to other surveys half of these 'christians' are non-practicing, just rubber-stamped at birth - so presumably mostly 'weak' atheists, and likely mostly erroneously describing themselves as 'agnostic' (since misunderstanding of this word seems universal; if you think it means 'undecided as to the existence of god', check a dictionary). None of the figures I've seen differentiate between 'weak' and 'strong' atheism; I expect we're mostly the latter here, and doubt we'd be due much airtime :-( . The likely largest religious group by 'practice' would be weak atheists, whose idea of religious programming would be 'none'. {Source: wikipedia as usual.}

At least the jedi currently get their fair share of programming.

N.B. If you're new to these definitions of weak & strong atheism and agnosticism - or disagree with my use of them - I've been meaning to start a thread about this as I think it lies at the root of many disagreements about atheism between atheists ("first define your terms" - even ones you think are obvious and universally understood; you'd be surprised) - but limitations of being currently smartphone bound meant I'd avoided addressing it until now. Woops...
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 829

N.B. If you're new to these definitions of weak & strong atheism and agnosticism - or disagree with my use of them - I've been meaning to start a thread about this as I think it lies at the root of many disagreements about atheism between atheists ("first define your terms" - even ones you think are obvious and universally understood; you'd be surprised) - but limitations of being currently smartphone bound meant I'd avoided addressing it until now. Woops...

Alex, I agree (;-)) ...this is almost as irritating as people who say "atheism is like a religion". I've lost count of how many times I've tried to explain to people who say they're not atheists that belief is binary ...either you believe or you don't...if you're not sure whether you believe, then de facto you do not believe!!...DOH. Hence either you're a theist or you're an a-theist. There is no middle ground in believing, but there is in epistemological terms...hence agnosticism....etc etc. But there is NO getting through to them. I have a friend like this, who doesn't believe in a deity but every time we meet again after this conversation he always reverts to " well I'm not really an atheist". What the hell do you do with these people??!

This is why I try to avoid labels in general, since they are wrongly used anyway. Do we not only use the term humanism because it sounds 'cuddly', but actually has no defined meaning? As far as I can work out it means inclusivity, equality etc etc ... surely these are just rational ways to treat others in the way you would wish to be treated i.e. rationalism? Why do we need yet another label to apply to ourselves?

Oh ...ooops, bit ranty this morning!...and I guess I have actually inadvertently started your thread anyway now...perhaps we should move this bit elsewhere so as not to hi-jack Alastair's thread with ranty tangents?biggrin
Guildford, GB
Post #: 363
My mum always used to say that she believed in something. Something was there. She didn't know what, but something was definitely there, and she believed in it. Maybe it was spirits, maybe it was Christianity and/or other God-type-stuff. Maybe it was just life after death - but either way she was insistent she was going to 'look down on me and haunt me if I did something wrong'.

God I hope us atheists are right or I'm in deep doo-doo!
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 1,372
My complaint to the BBC about BBC News today (Sunday 24/3, bbc1, 18:30):

"There was a news article about housing in London. You had a church minister giving his 'expert' opinion. Why not also have an astrologer, a witch doctor and perhaps a primate (of the chimpanzee variety, rather than of the Welby variety I mean).

Can you stop these ridiculous appearances by clergy (of any delusion) on matters that are not related to religion please. There are less than 2% of of people going to church, and a third of people who are now officially counted as no religion or atheist. Please start reflecting that rather than broadcasting for a previous century"

Waiting for BBC's response. No doubt it'll be something like "church leaders are in touch with poor people" or some other such shit.
Georgi L.
London, GB
Post #: 1,376
Yet another type of censorship and religious bias by the media:

You may remember Lloyd Newson’s verbatim hit play ‘Can We Talk About This?’ which enjoyed a successful run at London’s National Theatre and Sydney Opera House amongst others. The play focused on the reluctance of media and political figures to openly discuss the dangers of Islamism and Sharia law.

Featuring speeches and interviews with leading figures from across the political and cultural spectrum, including One Law for All’s Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters, the play explored issues of freedom of speech, censorship and violence, as well as the impact of significant events such as the ‘Rushdie Affair’, the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, and the Mohammed cartoons.

‘Can We Talk About This?’ received rave reviews around the world and won several high profile awards, including ‘Best Dance or Ballet’ (Helpmann Awards, Australia 2012) and dance ‘Production of the Year’ (Germany, 2011/12).

Channel 4 decided not to commission the play due to the ‘current climate’ even though Lloyd Newson’s last film, the Cost of Living, was commissioned for Channel 4 and won 17 international awards, including a Prix Italia and the coveted Rose D’or. Similarly the BBC, which had commissioned previous films from Newson, declined to film the play though they broadcast ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera’ (which featured Jesus Christ in a nappy). So much for the supposed ‘bravery’ of Channel 4 and the ‘impartiality’ of the BBC when it comes to Islam!

Please show LAAG support for onlawforall's campaign to oppose channel 4 and bbc's censorship when it comes to Islam:

This blasphemy-law-by-stealth must be opposed. One Law for All vehemently objects to the climate of censorship and fear when it comes to Islam and calls on supporters of freedom of expression to exert pressure on UK broadcasters to screen this highly successful and relevant play. We must demand an end to censorship particularly for the many who are suffering under Sharia law and Islamism across the world and facing threats, imprisonment and the death penalty for merely speaking their minds.

Please write to the BBC at BBC Audience Services, PO Box 1922, Darlington DL3 0UR and/or Channel 4 at Channel 4 Television Corporation, 124 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2TX and ask for this important production to be screened.

Here are more addresses:

Channel 4 Chief Executive:

Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer:

Commissioning Editor, BBC Music & Events:

BBC Trust:

We look forward to your support.

Thank you.

Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
web: http://www.onelawfora...­
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