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Putting on the writs

Evening Standard, July 21, 1995. page 8

THE CHURCH of Scientology is upset. Apparently, the Press has been beastly to its members and snide about its methods. In the past, of course, the Church had a foolproof strategy for tackling troublesome hacks: writs and threats. They didn't always prove effective, which must be why the Scientologists yesterday booked a room at the Palace of Westminster to launch a new code of practice for journalists.

The Campaign for Public Reform of Media Abuses, as it is formally known, is spearheaded by Lord McNair, an unlikely co-religionist of John Travolta and Tom Cruise.

It was a rum do, with slightly sinister overtones. Among other things, McNair promised to 'identify and investigate those elements in the media who commonly are the subject of continuing public complaints'. Those elements, it seems, are all reporters who have ever insinuated that the Church is a cult and uses mind-control techniques.

Bearing this in mind, I forebear from describing the Church in detail. Suffice it to say that the Scientologists hope the Unification Church - the Moonies - will join in its campaign soonest.

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