Monday, 8 June 2009

Baroness Scotland, trust, compromise and faith

The first day of the Churches Media Council conference looking at how faith fits into the media landscape.  Baroness Scotland gave the opening address and she was fabulous.  The title of her talk was Faith in the Public Space and she gave 3 reasons why she thought faith was essential to society.  The first - faith can help build and maintain a cohesive society based on deeply held values.  She believes people of faith can respect and honour each other but still old true to their own beliefs.  Embedded in each faith is respect and tolerance, and all people of faith need to put that into practice to bind together an increasingly fragmented society.
The second reason is that faith gives sustenance to public service.  All faiths have inbuilt a notion of service to God, community  and neighbour and it is often the faiths who are there with most marginalised and excluded.  They build social capital  and secure cohesion.
The third reason is that we still have a lot to learn.  Both banking and politics have to depend to a certain extent on honourable behaviour - which has been  shown to be lacking recently.  She quoted the Bible saying: Be conscious of God and always speak the truth.  She believes there is a deep thirst in society and that people desire to kneel before God and humbly acknowledge there is something greater.  She believes people of faith in the media have to be enablers of good news and allow people to see God working in society, and not to just reflect the negative.

This is a very largely paraphrased summary of her talk which was deeply personal, authoritative and wise - I was very impressed.

There then followed three short presentations on: What are the media dong to ...God (Mona Siddiqui), young people (Nims Obunge) and politics (John Lloyd).  Interesting talks.  Some of the main points I took away were that  people in politics teach us the great art of compromise, something we all need to practice - and that doesn't mean dilute your own beliefs.  The media is biased against young people, particularly blacks, and demonises them - but the media is largely populated by middle class whites, so how can we represent them?  The media carries a moral burden to report well and with standards.  That religion isn't given the same intellectual scrutiny as other subjects.

Lots of talking and debate, very enjoyable and interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment