Scientology Crime Syndicate

Subject: BBC stops Scientology commercials
From: GSNews
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 18:34:29 -0400

BBC television stops worldwide broadcast of
commercials for Scientology

Munich, Germany
May 6, 1999

Munich (epd) After protests from German television viewers, BBC, the British broadcasting company suspended the worldwide broadcast of commercials for Scientology. Michael Kayser, the German representative from BBC World, related this to the epd in Munich. The commercial for the 1950 book "Dianetics" by Scientology founder Ron Hubbard had been broadcast several times a day for about three weeks.

The television spot had been released by the British Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Center. However, since the Scientology organization is essentially rated more critically in Germany than it is in Great Britain, the broadcaster took the commercial off the air prematurely. According to Kayser, BBC World is received by about ten million households in Germany.

The Bavarian State Institute for New Media in Munich welcomed the decision. Spokesman Wolfgang Flieger indicated that according to German media laws, broadcast of commercials for religious organizations is not permitted. However, the Media Institute is also bound to the European Television Policy for Retransmission of Foreign Broadcasts, which guarantees free reception according to the so-called "state transmission principle."

Ever since March of this year the Labor Association of State Media Institutions of Private Broadcasting Companies had been warning of a strongly financed advertising campaign by the "Scientology Church." The Sachsen State Media Institute announced in connection with this that the controversial organization was prepared to spend about $40 million for an "information campaign" via the media. The Bavarian institute had already verified that Scientology had wanted to engage a private Munich station for commercial broadcast. The radio spots, however, were not broadcast as planned.

Scientology has been under surveillance by the state Constitutional Security agencies in Germany since 1997. Critics speak of an ideologically totalitarian system which closely observes its members and operates primarily in a profit-oriented manner. The issue of whether the organization is a religious congregation or a business has not been uniformly decided upon by the courts. In 1997 Scientology gave the number of its members in Germany to the U.N. Human Rights Commission as 30,000. Experts have since concluded that it is much less.


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