Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Colin Ryder

  Glancing through some of the responses on your pages I was intrigued to find over 6,500 people had replied (and agreed) with the submission from UCB. I do not want to comment on UCB directly as I am not sure what channels they operate. I am aware of a number of religious radio stations available via Sky digital and also some TV channels. Although I am not a "religious" person I am concerned at the number of programmes on the sat-TV channels which most of the British (and I suspect European) public would find offensive. Specifically the use of these channels for over zealous "preaching", often at the expense of minorities and for their use in using "underhand" tactics in order to gain donations for the channel and/or church. GOD channel has (I believe) nearly lost its ITC licence twice for this offence. The same channel has also shown homophobic programmes such as a series whereby they show people who have gone "straight thanks to God". I always understood that religion was supposed to show love, "God hates puffs" programming and "give me your money" usually aimed at poor people who can least afford it show the opposite of love. Since religion along with politics brings out the strongest emotions in people (Northern Ireland and the Middle East sadly demonstrate this all too well), any channels devoted to these subjects need to have their programming produced very sensitively. Subject to band with space these types of organisations should have access to the airwaves, but extra care MUST be incorporated in their licence agreements. They should also lose that licence much quicker than "entertainment or educational" channels if they fail to honour their responsibilities as they should, by their own definitions, by setting a high standard. The Evangelic style of programmes favoured in the USA should be discouraged (preferably banned) as they are little more than brainwashing and, as in the recent case of Jerry Faldwell (I think) nothing more than a con. Again his style was directed as hate towards minorities and fleecing the gullible of their money. We must not allow that kind of programming in Europe.

June 2002

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