Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 2, 2003
Poll faults media's faith, religion coverage
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Two thirds of Canadians who attend religious services once a week say the media does a "poor job" of covering faith and religion, according to a new Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for the Calgary-based Centre for Faith and the Media.
And over half of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed from April 30 to May 3 believe the media does not provide enough coverage of faith and religion.
However, those who attend religious services weekly are optimistic about the power of the media, with eight out of 10 saying the media can encourage religious tolerance. "This view is shared by most Canadians," Ipsos-Reid reported. "Overall, 74 per cent think the media can encourage religious tolerance."
The survey, also indicates that those who regularly attend religious services continue to look past mainstream media to religion-based media for such coverage.
"People who have a religious identity tend to turn to the religious media for information on their own group and to the secular media for information on other religious groups."
It also observed there are no statistically significant changes in perceptions of the media's quality or adequacy of coverage of faith and religion between 2003 and 1998. "There also have been no significant changes in the importance of religion or patterns of attendance at religious services," it added.
The Centre for Faith and the Media noted that 32 per cent of those polled felt matters of spirituality received too little coverage, double the 16 per cent who felt spirituality received too much coverage. Half of those polled believed the right level of coverage was provided.
"People who have a religious identity tend to turn to religious media for information on their own group
- Ipsos-Reid poll
As well, "63 per cent of those who regularly attend religious services felt the media did a poor job on spirituality coverage, while 50 per cent felt there was too little such coverage." Sixty-one per cent reported religion plays an important role in their lives and 21 per cent said they attended religious services at least weekly.
The Centre for Faith and the Media was established in 2002 as a non-profit, independent organization to help media and the general public understand attitudes and practices in faith and spirituality.