IPSO Blog: Reporting on religion

Policy and Public Affairs Officer Sophie Malleson reflects on attending the second Religion Media Festival. 

On Tuesday, IPSO staff attended the second Religion Media Festival at JW3, at the Jewish Community Centre in North London.

The festival is organised by the Religion Media Centre and aims to help journalists and media professionals report and reflect on religion by providing relevant information to enable a deeper understanding of religious issues.

How religion is reported in the media is of interest to IPSO, especially as we’re currently working on guidance for journalists and editors on reporting around Islam and Muslims and it was fascinating to learn more about contemporary reporting on religious issues beyond magazines and newspapers, including broadcast.

What struck me from attending this year’s event was the range of media featuring an examination of religion and belief in some way − whether on radio, public service broadcasting or podcasts.

Audience members were shown of the range of really brilliant and thought-provoking work done by journalists and film-makers which sensitively examined the diversity of belief in today’s world.

Whilst it was reassuring to know that there is some fantastic work from journalists being done around reporting of religion and belief, there was also some discussion of the difficulties faced when reporting nuanced and sensitive topics.

Social media and video journalist for the BBC, Sophia Smith Gale, talked about her work covering stories on the complexities of contemporary faith around the world. She described the real challenge for journalists and editors to produce short videos that highlight complexities and nuance in contemporary religious belief.

As regulator, a key part of IPSO’s role is to support journalists to report on challenging issues. We recently published a page of external resources for journalists, including some from the Religion Media Centre.

You can find out more about the Religion Media Centre and the festival here