Incoming Radio 4 Today Editor in religion row

The newly-appointed Editor of Today on BBC Radio 4 has become embroiled in a row over the programme’s religious slot.

It’s after Sarah Sands suggested in an article for the Financial Times that Thought For the Day should include humanist viewpoints. The BBC has responded by saying that she would not have any say over the segment, as it’s produced by the Religion and Ethics department – not by the Today programme.

In the FT piece, she wrote: “This slot, it seems to me, is about the meaning of life, so the title hardly does it justice. It is much, much more than platitudes about Jesus and Brexit, balanced now and then with a view from another faith. And if this is about profound faith, surely we should also include humanists? I admire religion and believe it is robust enough to have challengers. I wonder what the listeners think of this.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Thought for the Day is editorially looked after by the BBC’s Religion and Ethics team in radio and features speakers from the world’s major faith traditions. There are no plans to make changes to it.”

Ms Sands is currently Editor of the London Evening Standard. She was appointed to the Radio 4 job last month, and will start later this year.

In an interview with Radio 4’s Media Show earlier this month, she said that she was taking a significant pay cut from her current job to join the BBC.

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