Peter Horrocks

Cross words

Two weeks ago I asked contributors to this blog for your opinion on whether it is appropriate for news presenters to wear religious attire. The debate has narrowed to whether it is right for Fiona Bruce to wear a cross.

To recap and put the record straight, Fiona Bruce has not been banned from wearing a cross. The discussion about Fiona’s cross began at a governors' meeting discussing impartiality, around the hypothetical question of what we would do if a newsreader wanted to wear a headscarf or veil. The discussion broadened to include all forms of religious emblems.

I deliberately asked you, the audience, for your views. Some respondents thought any symbols had the potential to distract and could compromise impartiality. But the majority of people from all religious and non religious backgrounds believed if a presenter is wearing religious clothing as part of their identity then it is absolutely fine for them to continue to do so. I agree with this latter view, although on an individual basis we do need to consider whether symbols distract and get in the way of their primary job of communicating the news. The wearing of a full veil, for instance, would hinder communication with the audience; a large shiny cross would be too distracting.

Peter Horrocks is head of BBC Newsroom



  • Host
  • 16 Oct 06, 12:58 PM

On Newswatch, the programme which discusses viewers' criticisms of BBC News, Peter Horrocks debates the issue of Fiona Bruce's cross, and Amanda Farnsworth addresses criticisms of presenters standing and using each other's names. You can watch Newswatch by clicking here.


BBC in the news, Monday

  • Host
  • 16 Oct 06, 11:29 AM

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