Bishop of Norwich will be new church media spokesman

It has been confirmed that the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James, will take over as the Church of England's lead spokesman on media issues from the start of November.

He has been appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to succeed the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, who has held the role since 1993.

Bishop Graham has been involved in media issues for many years already, working with the BBC Trust and the director general's office to set up the Standing Conference on Religion and Belief in 2009.

This bi-yearly conference succeeded the Central Religious Advisory Committee which Bishop Graham chaired from 2003. Earlier he was also the bishop who liaised with Diocesan Communicators.

In his role Bishop Graham will work closely with other bishops who have responsibilities for relationships between the church and media, such as Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, who is responsible for 'Religion in Media Network'.

He said: ''It is nice that I am being trusted by the Bishops to engage regularly with the media and I look forward to doing so on a national level.

'I'm familiar to the BBC and the local press already but I don't quite know what I will do yet, it will be whatever issues come up, and we all know what a fast-changing world the media is now.

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'I'm looking forward to engaging in the issues though because the influence of the media is enormous now so to ignore it would be foolish.'

His predecessor played a vital part in ensuring that the Communications Act 2003 carried a commitment to religious broadcasting and a clear definition of the genre and served on the Lords Select Committee on Communications from 2005 to 2010.

So Bishop Graham is keeping an open mind to his duties, adding: 'I'll be looking at many things and a week or two could go by with nothing and all of a sudden there could be something that I will have to comment on.

'But I will also have an influence from just engaging with the media in the background, so that the media can understand the influence of a large chunk of the population.'