Matt Jones

On Radio 4's Thought for the Day

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Much as I like Radio 4, the one-sidedness of the Thought for the Day section of the Today programme disappoints me. Why are religious views implicit when we think of Thought for the Day, when there is no such mention of religion in the title?

In 2002, representatives of the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society and the Rationalist Press Association sent a letter to the BBC complaining about the fact that the two minute, forty-five second slot is only for the broadcasting of religious views. As a result, the BBC granted some air-time for a secular viewpoint from Richard Dawkins, and this wasn't even part of the Thought for Day slot. Furthermore, while there have been speakers representing other faiths, the views expressed are pretty much always from the believers in a Judeo-Christian God.

Just as the BBC has policy of un-biased, neutral reporting of news, should not the same be true for the Thought for the Day. I have no problem with some religious view expressed, but how about about a more balanced selection of speakers throughout the week?

To provide this balance, I've had the idea of providing a ‘Rational Thought for the Day’ podcast including audio and video of prominent secular thinkers and writers, and maybe publish it at around 07:50 when the Radio 4 version goes out. It would take a bit of development time and a lot of co-ordination, but does anyone think this would be a good idea?