The BBC should broadcast a version of Radio 4's Thought for the Day for non-believers, John Humphrys said yesterday.
The Today programme presenter said that Radio 4 should create an alternative outlet for the irreligious, after the BBC's governing body ruled that excluding atheists from the three-minute religious slot did not fall foul of its impartiality
Humphrys told The Times: As a non-believer, I've always thought there's an argument for a secular Thought for the Day — but not because of discrimination. I think we'd get some interesting views.
The BBC Trust rejected 12 complaints, led by the National Secular Society, against a decision by Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4, that atheists should continue to be barred from Thought for the Day . Related Links
Terry Sanderson, president of the society, claimed that allowing a religious monopoly gave speakers a platform on the news programme to put a biased point of view that no one can question them about .
The trustees said that the necessary impartiality could be achieved by broadcasting alternative views within Thought For The Day within the week, or by the presenters referring listeners to other portions of the Today programme that dealt
with conflicting views.
Richard Tait, chairman of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee, which considered the appeals, said: We understand that some people feel strongly about this issue and have given it careful consideration. However, we have concluded that the current
arrangements do not breach BBC editorial guidelines and specifically requirements of due impartiality in content.