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14th January
2009
  

Update: Weird Faith...

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Scientologists set their lawyers on the Daily Mail

Scientology protestor Glosslip insiders have revealed that the Daily Mail’s story on Jett Travolta, titled Did John Travolta’s weird faith seal son Jett’s fate? was pulled from their website after threats from the Church of Scientology.

This is nothing new in the world of Scientology. Almost a year ago, gossip site Gawker was threatened with legal action from the highly litigious religion after posting a for Scientologist’s eyes only video featuring Tom Cruise discussing his strange religion. Gawker, citing fair use laws, refused to pull the video, and have been reaping a traffic bonanza since.

With the barrage of stories following the tragic death of 16-year old Jett Travolta, one has to wonder how much overtime the lawyers have been putting in trying to keep the media from looking too closely at their dangerous history of medical mishaps based on the groups anti-psychiatry beliefs.

 

9th September
2009
  

Update: Cult of Censorship...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Scientology calls for Australian laws to censor their critics

Scientology logo Scientology has called upon the Australian Government to censor the internet and media locally in direct response to protests from Anonymous.

In a long, rambling submission made to the Australian Human Rights Commission made earlier this year, the 'Church' attacks Anonymous calling them, among other things, a hate group of cyberterrorists that is engaged in a malicious campaign of hate that is an anathema to democracy.

The submission states:

In Australia Anonymous have mounted a sustained campaign of misinformation against the Church. As we are a minority religion with the vast majority of the population unaware of our true beliefs and humanitarian programs, their campaign has no justifiable purpose and violates the Church of Scientology's and parishioners rights to human dignity and religious freedom under the Constitution.

Scientology wants the Internet and media in Australia censored to prevent any negative stories being told about the church, and more, including:

  • Banning the use of domain name registration anonymity tools such as WhoisGuard by sites who talk about the church
  • The introduction of criminal sanctions for vilification of religion, including jail time for serious religious vilification.
  • The prohibition of concealing ones identity with a mask by people engaged in campaigns of harassment and vilification against religions (which they specifically mean Guy Fawkes masks.)

The statement gets worse:

It is recommended that a law be enacted to prevent the dissemination of antireligious propaganda in the media, which is based on unfounded hearsay and either known or reasonably known to be untruthful. Such dissemination shall be the subject of a civil penalty provision in favour of the defamed Church, and/or its individual parishioners if they are individually named or otherwise identified.

 

12th March
2010
  

Update: Censorial Sect...

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Scientologists attempt to ban German TV film

ard logo Germany's state broadcaster is locked in a row with the Church of Scientology which wants to block an upcoming feature film that depicts the organisation as totalitarian and unethical.

Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt , or Until Nothing Remains , dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.

Scientology leaders have accused Germany's primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.

According to the makers of Until Nothing Remains , the €2.5m (£2.3 m) drama, which is due to air in a prime-time slot at the end of March, is based on the true story of Heiner von Rönns, who left Scientology and suffered the subsequent break-up of his family.

Scientology officials have said the film is false and intolerant. Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for Scientology in Germany said: The truth is precisely the opposite of that which the ARD is showing. The organisation is investigating legal means to prevent the programme from being broadcast. Stettler said the organisation was planning its own film to spread our own side of the story .

 

15th September
2012

 Update: The Master...

Filmmaker speaks of Scientology pressure against a film partly about L Ron Hubbard

master Scientologists in Hollywood tried to derail a movie inspired by the religion's founder, its studio claims. The Master was partly based on L Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in the 1950s.

Unnamed Scientologists applied lots of pressure to stop The Master being made and have it changed once filming began, studio head Harvey Weinstein said

We've had pressure and we've resisted pressure. Originally people said to me 'don't make it'. Lots of pressure.

And then, as we were making it, we had pressure to change it. Paul's not doing that and I didn't think he chose me [to work with] because I was going to acquiesce either.

The movie tells the story of a cult leader known as The Master, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a troubled World War II veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who is drawn into his world. It won awards for acting and directing after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is seen as an early contender for The Oscars.

Asked about the reaction from Scientologists in Hollywood, Weinstein said:

I'm not going to get into names, but they feel strongly that they think it's a religion and as such they think the subject matter shouldn't be explored.

The Church of Scientology has denied trying to block the film.

 

16th January
2013

  Why can't we read the Scientology book Going Clear in the UK?...

Because of Britain's anti freedom of speech libel rules

Going Clear Scientology Hollywood Prison Just the title of Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief tells you more than many books on the subject. Going Clear is a veritable book of revelations on L Ron Hubbard's sci-fi religion, exhaustively detailing its history, its methods and the depth of its weirdness.

Or so we're told. While Going Clear goes on sale in the US and the rest of Europe this week, you can't buy it in Britain. Not because it threatens national security, or features royal breasts, but because of our uniquely obliging libel laws.

Unlike in other countries, under English and Welsh law the burden of proof in defamation cases rests exclusively on the defendant, which means that if someone sues you, it's up to you to prove that it's true. If that someone is, say, a pharmaceutical company, or a church that believes in space people, then you're in for a long, expensive time in court, even if you win (legal costs here are up to 140 times higher than international norms). Hence Transworld's decision not to publish. The legal advice was that Going Clear's content was not robust enough for the UK market, they say.

 

15th May
2013

 Update: Reputation Management...

Google told to censor search suggestions when they are complained about

Germany flag A German federal court has told Google to censor the auto-complete results that its search engine suggests.

The court said Google must ensure terms generated by auto-complete are not contrary to the wishes of those that complain.

The court case was started by an unnamed German businessman who found that Google.de linked him with scientology and fraud . Google must now remove certain word combinations when told about them, said the court.

A person's privacy would be violated if the associations conjured up by auto-complete were claimed to be untrue, the federal court said in a statement about the ruling. However, it added, this did not mean that Google had to sanitise its entire index. The operator is, as a basic principle, only responsible when it gets notice of the unlawful violation of personal rights.

The ruling on auto-complete overturns two earlier decisions by lower German courts.

 

19th April
2015

 Update: Clear Censorship...

Sky cancels Scientology documentary over fears of libel claims via Northern ireland
Going Clear Scientology Hollywood Prison Plans to broadcast HBO's Church of Scientology exposé, Going Clear , have been shelved by Sky Atlantic in a virtual repeat of events two years ago, when UK publishers abandoned publication of the book on which the new TV documentary is based.

Sky originally indicated that the Alex Gibney-directed film, which alleges abusive practices at the 'religion''s US headquarters, would be transmitted in the UK earlier this month in step with its American release.

However, the Observer has learned that because Northern Ireland is not subject to the 2013 Defamation Act, the broadcaster could be exposed to libel claims from David Miscavige, the leader of the church, or others. This appears to have caused the company to postpone transmission, if not to cancel it entirely.

Sky is unable to differentiate its signal between regions, rendering the same programme potentially exposed to pre-reform libel laws in Northern Ireland, but shielded in Britain where, among free-speech safeguards and reforms designed to limit frivolous claims or libel tourism , people or organisations must now show serious harm to reputation.

Scientology leaders said in a statement:

The Church of Scientology will be entitled to seek the protection of both UK and Irish libel laws in the event that any false or defamatory content in this film is broadcast within these jurisdictions.

 

30th August
2015

 Diary: Going Clear but encrypted...

21st September 2015. Sky is set to broadcast Going Clear despite censorship pressure from the Scientology organisation
going clear Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 USA documentary by Alex Gibney.
Starring Lawrence Wright, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun. IMDb

A devastating two hour documentary based on Lawrence Wright's book of the same name. Scientology is laid bare by a film that skilfully knits together archive footage, testimonials from former high ranking officials and public, and dramatic reconstructions.

Sky Atlantic is to show a documentary on Scientology, despite legal pressure from the 'church'.

Alex Gibney's Going Clear traces the origins of the organisation and profiles former members, including Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis. It has alleged abusive practices at Scientology's US headquarters, which members have denounced as one-sided, bigoted propaganda .

The film premiered to wide acclaim in the US in March and was watched by 5.5 million viewers on HBO. It also garnered seven Emmy nominations.

The Church of Scientology has previously threatened to use the UK's libel laws to challenge any false or defamatory content if it is broadcast in the UK.

Although an initial screening, in April, was postponed, Sky has now confirmed it will be shown, without edits on 21 September. A spokesman for Sky told The Guardian:

Both Sky, and the producers of the film, have sought legal advice at every stage of the process and are confident the film complies with legal requirements in the territories in which we are screening the film.