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Thursday, May 17, 2007

e.tv Prefers being offensive to Christians

e.tv, the free-to-air TV channel in South Africa, aired the film ,THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, on 7 May 2007 at about 23:00. I, and several people I know (and I am sure many others that I do not know) complained to e.tv and the BCCSA (Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa) before this date concerning the repulsive, objectionable and offensive nature of this film.

It turns out that the BCCSA has no teeth before any screening of any material whatsoever, and can only process complaints after such a screening. e.tv did send out a statement
on the day of the screening to all those who complained about the airing of this film. Unfortunately I was in West Africa at the time on business and could not reply.

Well, I finally replied to them last night. Below, you can first read the statement from e.tv and then my reply to them.


e.tv takes serious account of the opinions of its viewers. While e.tv has no intention to offend any viewer in screening the Last Temptation of Christ, we believe that we have a responsibility as a television channel, to air different views and opinions.

e.tv subscribes to a Code of Conduct which requires us to provide adequate viewer information concerning programmes which may offend certain viewers. As we are conscious that some viewers may be offended by this film, we took a decision to schedule it well after 10pm accompanied by appropriate warnings.

The Last Temptation of Christ does not set out to offend. It is a serious film which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director (Martin Scorsese) in 1989 and has received widespread critical acclaim.

In response to a complaint about the airing of the film on Canadian television, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council expressed the following views in 1996:

“It is the view of the Council that … the film was [not] in any way abusive or discriminatory toward Christians or Christianity. The quest of both the book and the film is inquiring, probing, and uncertain as to its conclusions. That it may not be the representation of the perspective or understanding of all or even many Christians regarding Christ is possible. That fact does not, however, make the perspective abusive, discriminatory or hateful. The Council considers that the film was intended primarily to explore the question of moral doubt and that it has accomplished this very effectively, even if it has not solved the religious mystery of the substance of Christ.”

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council dismissed the complaint about the airing of the film.

Considering all the circumstances, e.tv believes that its decision to broadcast The Last Temptation of Christ late on a Monday night is consistent with its mandate as a free-to-air television broadcaster and with the South African Bill of Rights.

Statement issued by e.tv: 7 May 2007

Here is the reply I emailed them:

Thank you for the reply you sent concerning the screening of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST on 7 May 2007.

I acknowledge that e.tv has this standard viewpoint concerning movies, or any fair screened by e.tv. However, I disagree significantly from that standpoint.

I agree that you have a responsibility to air differing views and opinions. However, when those views and opinions have been debunked by all serious historians as utter, unsubstantiated rubbish, then it is no longer a view or opinion, but an agenda and propaganda. The life and times of Jesus Christ is well attested to in history, and the blatant lies of this film is not simply propaganda, but an attempt to alter history in the minds of its viewers. We all know that it is all in vogue these days to put a personal spin on historic events to suit those propagating their own propaganda, yet, it remains wrong and ethically deplorable to continue such propaganda, or to support the same!

As is the same with other TV channels in South Africa you subscribe to a Code of Conduct, but instead of following the "spirit" of this Code you simply follow the "letter" of the Code. If you wanted to avoid offending viewers, perhaps you have succeeded by airing the film so late at night. Yet, all you have achieved in such a scenario is not to offend the Christians of this country to their faces, but behind their backs! That is no accomplishment at all!

What you have accomplished, however, was to spread a bunch of lies late at night instead of earlier. Does the time of day really make a difference as to when you may become offensive? But, then of course, evil does hide in the dark! In any country with any sanity left at all, evil remains evil no matter what time of day it is! Murder remains murder whether it is 13:00 or 01:00. The same goes for rape. Why would it be any different when it comes to offending Christians?

The airing of this movie helped spreading damnable lies about Jesus Christ to people living in an age when historical facts no longer count and when people no longer verify what they see in books and on TV. As a result, the propagation of this material implanted people's minds with such lies parading as truth.

The statement by e.tv opines that this movie does not set out to offend. Really? It may not offend about 20% of the people of this country, those according to Statistics South Africa who are not Christians! However, it certainly is offensive to the other 80%!

The fact is, and I state it categorically, e.tv knew beforehand that this film would offend millions in this country, yet they went ahead and aired it anyhow. Yes, you have a responsibility as a TV channel, yet, you refuse to be accountable to those you so constantly offend!

Of course, another ploy used by TV channels such as yours is to use name dropping. Martin Scorcese, Academy Award, "widespread critical acclaim." Does that really make it right? Does good acting, good direction in a movie make right the evil committed by such a movie? It is like saying, "the devil made me do it!" It still does not make it right nor does it exonerate the movie from being called for its deplorable propagandistic lies! Apart from this, it is pure blasphemy!

It really amuses me that you fall back onto the "witness" of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC). It is like one Mafioso calling another Mafioso as a character witness! Really amusing!

This movie is so obviously made to offend, no matter what the CBSC said or what types of acclaim the movie received. Being praised by the devil is no praise at all!

Although the Bill of Rights give freedom of views and opinions to all South Africans, I personally think it is time that the media in this country stop hiding behind that section of the Bill of Rights and rather start thinking about their responsibilities in this country.

Freedom of speech without accompanying responsibility and accountability simply leads to speech anarchy--speech without form or meaning!

I really hope that e.tv would change its stance concerning such films as THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST!

Perhaps this email will not change your mind. That would be a pity. Perhaps your advertisers would listen?


Of course, my next step would be to lodge a complaint with the BCCSA.


Pierre de Vos said...

Thank goodness we live in a Constitutional democracy in which freedom of expression is guaranteed. This means religious zealots can say that heathens will burn in hell or that homosexuals are bad people, while the rest of us can watch The Last Temptation of Christ or, behold, say that anyone stupid enough to believe in an all almighty God that is so hateful and filled with prejudice that he condemns all kinds of people and so callously heartless that he allows incomprehensible injustice in the world to flourish, must have their heads read. Viva Freedom of Expression!

William Dicks said...


I have reached a high point in my life. By implication, you have called me a "religious zealout!" Finally someone recognised that in me! I am so proud!

Freedom of expression is a myth, a hoax foisted upon us by liberals who do not realise that every single law ever thought up was a curtailing of that very freedom of expression.

I am all for the freedom of expression, but if that freedom comes without responsibilities and being held accountable for what we so freely "express," then as a society we will become no more than spoilt brats that can do anything we like without feeling the consequences!

Maybe you should stick around till the end of time when God will judge the "incomprehensible injustice" in this world, or would you prefer He do it now? Would you take that risk and ask Him to start judging right now? Would you survive?

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason why the film should be censored beyond your own inane convictions. Please, by all means, take this all the way to the constitutional court where it will heartely be thrown out.

Welcome to the society of the free and not of "exclusive members of X religion."

Your "god" and his "judgment day" scare me none.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

~ George Orwell

William Dicks said...

It seems George Orwell had you in mind!

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