Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ad ban deplorable and unacceptable: Iona Institute

The Iona Institute has described as “deplorable and unacceptable” the latest ban to be placed on a religious advertisement in Ireland.

Yesterday it was revealed that the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) has banned a radio ad from religious book-seller, Veritas. The ad was for the sale of First Holy Communion products.

A complaint about the ad, which promoted gifts for Holy Communion such as rosary beads, said that its use of the phrase “spiritual gifts” promoted particular aspects and sacraments of a specific religion. This contravened the General Advertising Code of Broadcasting Act of 2001, the BCC ruled.

Reacting to the ban, Mr David Quinn, director of The Iona Institute said: “This is the latest religious advertisement to be banned under our broadcasting legislation. Religious organisations are being unfairly singled out. For example, newspapers can advertise their contents even when those contents are highly political.

“The Veritas ad was not inviting people to receive Holy Communion. It was merely advertising the sale of First Holy Communion products. First Holy Communion is deeply embedded in Irish culture and it is deplorable and unacceptable that an ad like this should be banned.”

He continued: “The Catholic bishops asked in a statement on Tuesday that the Broadcasting Bill currently before the Oireachtas be amended so as to ease the restrictions on religious advertising. They say that only religious ads that are harmful to the common good should be banned. No reasonable person could argue that this very inoffensive ad from Veritas is harmful to the common good.”

Other religious organisations to have ads banned under broadcasting legislation include The Irish Catholic and the Power to Change Campaign.

The Irish Catholic ad was banned in 2002 because it contained wording about a feature series dealing with ‘the good the Church does’.

The series dealt with the work of organisations such as the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The Power to Change organisation wanted to run an ad on TV dealing with the ‘power of Jesus to change lives.’

This was banned from Irish stations in 2003 but was allowed to air on UTV.
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(Source: CIN)

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