Should the media be free to criticise religious belief and practice?

The media currently has relative freedom in the UK, so long as it follows the relevant guidelines and follows the law.

There are arguments both for and against the media being free to criticise what religious groups say about matters of belief and practice:

For

  • Critical comment helps people to understand and think about different views on an issue.
  • Members of the public have the freedom to make their own decisions on beliefs and practices of religions, regardless of what the media says.
  • Without opinion, the media would be simply informative. Opinions give 'flavour' to what the media presents.

Against

  • Most people gain the majority of their knowledge of religion from the media, therefore it needs to avoid being biased.
  • Belief and practice are a personal choice which should not be criticised.
  • If the criticism is too general, all members of a particular faith community may be thought of in the same negative way.