This article is a little different from others that have been written on this column. Longtime readers know that I tend to focus on articles focusing on Evangelism, Apologetics, and Christian living. However a new study that focusing on Global faith and media was recently released. It revealed some fascinating finding regarding the relationship between faith an media.
Global Faith and Media Background
The study consisted of the input of 9,489 people from 118 different countries as well as 30 in depth interviews with members of the media. Of the 18 nations represented 5 countries, or 3,666 of the respondents, said they were highly religious. Nigeria, India, South Africa, and the United states were in the top four. Another 5 countries, or 2,301 respondents, responded as being middle of the way. Countries such as Canada and Mexico were at the top of this list. Finishing the list are 8 countries, or 3,522 respondents who categorized themselves as secular. Some countries at the top of this list were the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Some Surprises In The Study
There were some interesting surprises when it comes to the religious nature of some of these countries. As previously stated, there were 5 countries who categorized themselves as religious. The fifth country on the list was China. This is surprising as China is a self professed Atheistic country and has a horrible track record when it comes to persecution of Christians and other people of faith in the country.
One other surprise is with a country that was categorized as being “middle of the way”. This country is the great nation of Mexico. Though Mexico does not have an official religion, 83% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and pilgrims from all over the world visit the country every year for various pilgrimages.
What The Global Faith And Media Study Shows
The study showed some interesting trends when it comes to the relationship between faith and media. For example:
- 53% of respondents say the media actively ignores religion as an aspect of society and culture.
- 59% of respondents believe it’s important that the news media cover a diverse set of faith and religious perspectives.
- 63% of people globally say that high quality content on faith and religion is needed in their respective countries.
Not only that, but the study revealed a growing gap between the needs of the faithful and the coverage of faith that the media gives. It also shows that people of faith have an increasing desire for better news coverage.
Among the respondents there was a desire for religious stereotypes to be addressed. 61% of respondents say that the media helps in spreading religious stereotypes (for the record I would agree), and 78% believe stereotypes should get the same, or more, attention as race and gender stereotypes.
What Does The Media Say?
The members of the media that were interviewed helped shed some light on the situation. There is agreement among those in the media that coverage of matters of faith has become increasingly marginalized. They also said that sue to budget cuts there are fewer and fewer journalists to cover faith and religion. There is also a fear of getting it wrong or appearing to be impartial, especially when one is reporting on their own faith. They were also honest and said that faith matters don’t always result in clicks.
There is much to this survey and it is very interesting to dive into. I encourage you to check it out here.