Monday, December 14, 2015

Lords Prayer 'ad': Investigation by Equality and Human Rights Commission


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today announced that the issues raised by Digital Cinema Media’s (DCM) decision not to show a Church of England advert about the Lord’s Prayer in cinemas, will be examined as part of a major Commission report.
This report, examining the adequacy of the law protecting freedom of religion or belief, will be published early next year. The DCM decision has generated significant public concern about freedom of speech.
The Commission, the national expert in equality and human rights law, has also offered its legal expertise for the purpose of intervening in the case should the Church take legal proceedings against DCM.
The Commission has written to DCM to highlight the importance of Britain’s long tradition of freedom of expression and to reiterate its concerns about the justification for not showing the advertisement being that it risked offending audiences.  There is no right in Britain not to be offended, and respect for people’s right to express beliefs with which others might disagree is the mark of a democratic society.
Most of me is bothered by the fact that we can't screen the Lords Prayer before a 2 hour film about a universal supernatural force, in amongst adverts encouraging us to sue, kill people on a screen, spend more money than we've got, and consume products that are bad for our health. Which of these is most offensive? But the rest of me is bothered about opening the gates to overtly religious advertising. It's a blurred line, as most movies are advertising products and worldviews themselves. Legal minefield? In amongst all this its clear that DCM have made a pigs ear of it, having initially okayed the Lords Prayer clip, and then come up with poor reasoning for pulling it. 

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