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Should Scientology be allowed to advertise on TV?

The Guardian, 21 September 1996


Should Scientology be allowed to advertise on TV?

NO "Scientology represents a group that have been decribed by a high court judge as corrupt, sinister and dangerous. How on earth can we now allow it to advertise? If an organisation can be seen to be potentially harmful to individuals and society as a whole then surely we need to protect the viewer accordingly."

-Ian Howarth, of the Cult Information Centre

YES "The [sic] has been so much fuss because religious advertising is a relatively new concept in this country. There has been lots of misinformation about the church of scientology over the years and like any new religion it is opposed by people who do not understand or know much about it."

-Greg Ryerson, spokeman [sic] for the Church of Scientology

YES "Christians get free publicity on radio and television every day, and so do politicians. Why shouldn't other liars have the same freedom of speech, so long as they pay for it, and so long as we have the same freedom to say what we think of their claims."

-Nicholas Walter, humanist and director of the Rationalist Press Association

NO "We can not begin to express the distress families feel at the prospect of viewing scientology on major television. Family members and loved ones of families and former members themselves are concerned that the advertising will persuade some people to become involved with an organisation that in their experience can not be trusted. Their fears are based on the adverse effect that they feel the organisation has had on their lives and families."

-Richard and Bonnie Woods, former members of the church of scientology who have now set up Escape, which counsels people who have been involved with the group.

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