Thursday, June 18, 2009

PBS Will End New Religious Programming

Won't be getting a PBS show any time soon.

WaPo reports:

The Public Broadcasting Service agreed yesterday to ban its member stations from airing new religious TV programs, but permitted the handful of stations that already carry "sectarian" shows to continue doing so.

The vote by PBS's board was a compromise from a proposed ban on all religious programming. Such a ban would have forced a few stations around the country to give up their PBS affiliation if they continued to broadcast local church services and religious lectures.

Until now, PBS stations have been required to present programming that is noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian. But the definition of "nonsectarian" programming was always loosely interpreted, and the rule had never been strictly enforced. PBS began reviewing the definition and application of those rules last year in light of the transition to digital TV and with many stations streaming programs over their Web sites. The definition doesn't cover journalistic programs about religion or discussion programs that don't favor a particular religious point of view.

I think this is a good, fair move. Banning all programming that's religious would've been unfair to the people who've already developed relationships with PBS. This way, we can set a precedent for the future instead that publicly funded programming won't be sectarian.