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Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary 565

Posted by timothy
from the piece-of-blue-sky dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."
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Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary

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  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:04AM (#31479352)

    Regardless, Scientology is prohibited in Germany; So I doubt they will have much of a case for the german courts.

  • A point to note (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:07AM (#31479374)

    Germany doesn't know yet what Scientology is, a business, a religion or a cult. This may make up the courts' mind.

    From Wikipedia/Church of Scientology [wikipedia.org]:

    In Germany, official views of Scientology are particularly skeptical. In Germany it is seen as a totalitarian anti-democratic organization and is under observation by national security organizations due, among other reasons, to suspicion of violating the human rights of its members granted by the German Constitution, including Hubbard's pessimistic views on democracy vis-à-vis psychiatry and other such features. In December 2007, Germany's interior ministers said that they considered the goals of Church of Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation's constitution and would seek to ban the organization. The plans were quickly criticised as ill-advised. The plans to ban Scientology were finally dropped in November 2008, after preliminary investigations failed to unearth evidence of illegal or unconstitutional activity.

    The legal status of the Church of Scientology in Germany is still awaiting resolution; some courts have ruled that it is a business, others have affirmed its religious nature. The German government has affirmed that it does not consider the Church of Scientology to be a religious community.

    If any fellow Anonymous in Germany feel like telling the German government why they should not consider Scientology a religion, then please be my guest. Be clear, make yourself heard. "Ich bin Anonymous!"

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:12AM (#31479398)

    Let's take a look at the Grundgesetz...

    Grundgesetz, Artikel 5: [dejure.org]

    (1) Everybody has the right to express and distribute his opinion in word, writing or picture, and also to inform himself from any public source. The freedom of press and the freedom of reporting through broadcasting and movies is assured. No censorship takes place.

    (2) These rights are limited only by the general laws for protection of the youth and protection of the personal honor.

    (3) Art and science, research and teaching are free. The freedom of teaching does not release from the faith to the constitution.

    (IANAL, but it beats Babelfish)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:13AM (#31479410)

    http://home.snafu.de/tilman/krasel/germany/stat.html

    Go Germany. Atleast someone gets the right idea here

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:20AM (#31479434)

    Scientology is not prohibited in Germany. However, it failed to gain the status of a church and is considered a cult. Also it is being watched closely because it is considered "hostile to the constitution", IIRC.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dziman (415307) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:27AM (#31479480)
    From the official translation: https://www.btg-bestellservice.de/pdf/80201000.pdf [btg-bestellservice.de]

    Article 5 [Freedom of expression, arts and sciences] (1) Every person shall have the right freely to express and disseminate his opinions in speech, writing and pictures, and to inform himself without hindrance from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship. (2) These rights shall find their limits in the provisions of general laws, in provisions for the protection of young persons, and in the right to personal honour. (3) Arts and sciences, research and teaching shall be free. The freedom of teaching shall not release any person from allegiance to the constitution.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:27AM (#31479482)

    For God's sake, no, Scientology is NOT prohibited in Germany. They are not acknowledged as as a religious group, so they do not enjoy financial benefits. They are however closely watched for violations of the constitution.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sique (173459) on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:42AM (#31479574) Homepage

    ... which are covered by Art 5(2): "These rights shall find their limits in [...] the right to personal honour."

    And they are covered in Art 1(1): "The dignity of Man is untouchable. To respect it and to protect it is the obligation of all governmental power."

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:00AM (#31479682) Homepage

    Unfortunately, they aren't prohibited yet; their lobby was too powerful. They're under heavy investigation though, and do not have the status of a religion.

  • by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:09AM (#31479734) Homepage Journal

    Scientology is allowed to operate and exist in Germany, but it is considered a for-profit organisation. That means it doesn't even enjoy charity status, much less the much-coveted tax exemption.

    So yes, they could attempt to get a temporary restraining order, but I doubt that this will go well for them. It's too close to the broadcast date, and the editors and producers have most likely done their homework.

  • 'Intolerance' (Score:4, Informative)

    by dugeen (1224138) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:15AM (#31479768) Journal
    The scientologists know whereof they speak when it comes to intolerance. Just ask Paulette Cooper.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Informative)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:18AM (#31479780)

    I'm afraid I'm going to "Godwin" myself here, and say it took an international invasion force to clear Nazism out of Germany, and the Cold War to clear Communism out of East Germany. The Germans have become very, very touchy about top-down, authority heavy organizations with thought police, regular interrogations of members with lie detectors, and locking up of dissidents, all of which Scientology does as standard policy. (Look up the Scientology "Guardian Office", the "e-meter", and "Flagg Base" for details on these policies.)

  • Re:Two words (Score:4, Informative)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:38AM (#31479914)

    Oh, dear. Try watching "Fox News" for an education in orifices.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:44AM (#31479954)

    People say horrible and untrue thing about Catholics and the Catholic Church all the time, but they don't try and abuse the legal system to stop them, because they recognise the importance of freedom of speech.

    Right, they only abuse the legal system to stop people who are pointing out the truth. Don't believe me? Here is a recent case, where they threaten bloggers who basically citet a newspaper article about child abuse in the catholic church. They are not threatening the newspaper, because they could afford to defend themselves. So much for freedom of speech.

    http://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&ie=UTF-8&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.politblogger.eu/kindesmissbrauch-katholische-kirche-mahnt-kritischen-blogger-ab/&prev=_t [google.de]

  • by Antiocheian (859870) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:46AM (#31479976) Journal

    You should be tolerant of the Scientology Religion. You should read the OT manuscripts, especially OTIII and fully understand Xenu's agenda against Earth.

    The following link will provide it for you; use eMule to get it:

    ed2k://|file|Scientology%2520-%2520OT3%2520Hubbard%2520notes.rar|15057528|78E963FA4134822640527F4B74184D83|h=LCN5G5OZUE7N47SY23SEPUAAQJ45X5UW|/

    (Be warned: reading these documents may inflict you with pneumonia.)

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by budgenator (254554) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:20AM (#31480156) Journal

    Depends on the country, in some countries, how the truth is presented and for what reason it's presented count too.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:24AM (#31480174)

    In Germany, it is. Every citizen has a right to be provided with a TV transmission. You still have to get the TV set yourself, but no one can legally prevent you from watching TV once you have that.

    The reason for that is to ensure a basic information flow to all citizens. If you want to be participate in public life, you have a right to be able to watch the news on TV, read newspapers, listen to the radio, and no one can force you not to do that (of course, no one forces you to actually do it either, but you need to have a choice).

  • Re:Mod parent up.. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:31AM (#31480208)

    Except that's not the documentary this article is about - its a completely different film that Scientology has tried to keep quiet.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Informative)

    by data2 (1382587) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:32AM (#31480216)

    Well, there is the church tax in Germany, which you have to pay if you are a member of the protestant or catholic church. So in a way, you do pay for the privileges and advantages.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Informative)

    by HopefulIntern (1759406) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:39AM (#31480250)
    This, similar to many European nations. Norway takes the same stance as Germany. They are not prohibited, but also do not have religion status. They are simply a business like any other, with no special allowances.
  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:43AM (#31480274) Journal

    but considering the standard of journalism in public tv, scientology hasn't much of a chance to pull that documentary off the air.

    According to the Spiegel article (second link), it's not a documentary, but a drama based on a true case. Since a non-documentary is usually expected to contain fictional elements, I guess that makes it much harder to legally fight it.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:28AM (#31480532)

    Scientology is not banned. They have just been denied the legal status of a church, and they're closely watched for their antidemocratic behavior.

  • Re:Thank you! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:40AM (#31480616)

    This is a completely different movie from 20 years ago that scientology got banned in the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:45AM (#31480660)

    Please don't speak in behalf of Buddhists because it shows you don't understand the religion.

    I assure you that Buddhism is different from anything you know and anger is one of the unwholesome feelings that Buddhists try to unroot from themselves.

    The Buddha teached to accept the world and the people as they are and to try to make a change but without involving feelings of lust, anger, jelousy, etc.

    So, "live and let live" but if you see unjustisce make your best effort to fight it.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:28AM (#31481052)

    Fox News.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Informative)

    by hamburger lady (218108) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:38AM (#31481192)

    uh, hitler wasn't an atheist. seriously.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:4, Informative)

    by VShael (62735) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:46AM (#31481270) Journal

    Hitler was a Catholic Christian until at least 1941, though I can understand why you'd rather not claim him as one of yours.

    Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot may have been atheists but that wasn't the reason they killed people. They were power mad dictators.

  • welp (Score:3, Informative)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:53AM (#31481344) Homepage Journal

    I hope someone gets a digital copy, "fansubs" it, and sends BT links to everyone on the planet.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Informative)

    by gerrygerbil (1114913) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:58AM (#31481388)

    To describe Catholicism as a "totalitarian anti-democratic organisation" and thereby making a direct comparison to Scientology is simply doing your own intelligence and critical thinking skills a disservice.

    Crap. I was brought up in the theocracy that was the Republic of Ireland, and "totalitarian" and "anti-democratic" are accurate adjectives. It's totalitarian because the Church sought to regulat every part of your life, including your thoughts ('thought crime' is a very familiar term to survivors of Catholicism like myself). It's anti-democratic because religion is, by its very nature, anti-democratic - scripture's scripture, and you have to follow it. The Catholic Church is run by an old man in an Italian city-state with a hierarchy of other old men who give orders and are completely unaccountable to their victims (sorry, 'parishioners'). Catholicism is far, far worse than Scientology, at least in Ireland were it's State-backed and obligatory, and its ordinances reach even unto non-believers (hence all the women who travel to the UK for abortions because the misogynist pricks that run the Church have banned it). At least you've a choice whether or not to be a Scientologist, and if you so choose then more bloody fool you.

    If you're a Catholic, no-one's going to try and make your life a living hell if you want to stop coming to church.

    That's complete bollox, that is. If you were a Catholic in Eire and you didn't come to Mass, the local priest would be calling at your door wanting to know why you weren't there, and he could and would give you serious grief if you didn't turn up next Sunday. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Pleasingly, the Church in Ireland is having done to it what it's done to all those kids over the decades: being fucked up the arse. The days when you'd have to bow and scrape to your local priest because he had an almost literal power of life and death over you are now over - now he's just a weirdo in a black dress who can't have sex like normal folk (and as a result is seriously fucked-up in the head).

  • Re:Rights? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:10AM (#31481494)

    You don't see an inherent conflict of interest in having the government run a media outlet?

    The point is that the public radio and TV stations are less "government run" as you might think. They are financed through fees every owner of a TV or radio has to pay (which in itself is a controversial topic, but supposedly it is done so that the stations don't get the money from the government directly).

    Of course, political influence is a sensitive issue. One national TV station (the "ZDF") for example has a steering council with members from all kind of interest groups (federal and regional governments, the different parties, churches, unions, ...) to make taking influence for a single entity more difficult. They elect the director of the station who takes care of the day-to-day running.

    I'm not saying that everything is perfect, but it is indeed a sensitive subject, and from time to time (true or perceived) favoring of certain political parties is hotly debated in the media.

    And, by not relying on advertisement income, I have the feeling that they their news program is of a much higher quality than that on the private station. It's information versus infotainment, similar to newspaper versus tabloid.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Informative)

    by bigpet (1695756) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:28AM (#31481696)

    you don't get it. It's not about abolishing the scientologic belief. It's about the Organisation "Church of Scientology".
    Get rid of the guys that are making it hard for it's members to leave and charge them an arm and a leg for "courses" and we're happy. The trial that decided that the "Church of Scientology" is not a religion specifically stated that individuals have the right to practice their belief.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:28AM (#31481706)

    An independent media is absolutely necessary to keep the power of government in check.

    Yes. But:

    1) the public stations are not controlled by "the government". Of course, politicians sit in the supervisory boards, but they are representatives of different groups (not just the government). And they don't run the day-to-day business of the stations.

    2) There are also plenty of non-public-run TV and radio stations, plus the newspapers. On the other hand, the largest (privately owned) German newspaper (BILD) is so biased to the conservative party that it would be a scandal if the public stations would be like that.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:10AM (#31482236)

    However, ARD is supported by public euros and as such answers to nobody even the government.

    As a fellow German I must tell you that your perception is quite naive. State and especially party influence is extremely widespread throughout the public stations. Some work positions (especially those that have influence on the produced content) are very dependent on your political opinion and/or party membership.

    Having said that, I would never abolish the public stations (although there could certainly be some cuts to their budget). But thinking that they are somehow "independent" is simply not true. It's just a different kind of influence.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:08AM (#31482992)

    I'll tell you what, Germany can have that apology in a few hundred years when they've earned back any level of trust after the shit they pulled in the 20th century.

    Well, apparently, many people by now have moved on to the 21st century and are able to distinguish between the Germany of 70 years ago and modern Germany...

    "Germany once again fared best in the poll, with every country viewing it positively and 61% of people rating it favourably, up from 55% last year."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7873050.stm

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:19AM (#31483108)

    Similar thing happened not long ago with Scientology's daughter cult, The Landmark Forum
    There was a special on French TV with hidden cameras inside the forum one weekend. Crazy stuff, they tried to silence the show but it has been futile. [thepiratebay.org] (English subbed)

    Just Say "NO" to Cults.
    .
  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:51AM (#31483640)
    When the militia was designed at the federal level under the Militia Act of 1792 signed by ol' George Washington himself, it was codified into law that every enfranchised citizen of the US between the ages of 18 and 45 was required to acquire and keep in good order a long gun of some sort (musket, flintlock, whatever) and appropriate ammunition for it. Unfortunately Americans are so lazy that they didn't want to bother mustering to train, and consequently the militia was phased out in favor of a voluntary standing army and national guard. For my part I would love to see the original law reinstated.
  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by billius (1188143) on Monday March 15, 2010 @02:13PM (#31485880)

    Yes, the German Grundgesetz guarantees free speech under section 1.5 [wikisource.org] which states:

    Everyone has the right freely to express and to disseminate his opinion by speech, writing and pictures and freely to inform himself from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by radio and motion pictures are guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.

    The only exception to this is materials considered "harmful" to youth, although from what I can tell that's largely limited to either things with large amounts of graphic violence, denying/"revising" the Holocaust or using Nazi symbols in inappropriate manners. In the case of Scientology, not only is the religion banned, but some government organizations like the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution have gone as far as creating pamphlets warning people about the dangers of Scientology [bayern.de] (PDF in German)

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @04:16PM (#31487896)

    This rant might be understandable if you grew up in Ireland in the 50s but you didn't.

    Let's get a few facts straight

    1. There is no established church in Ireland, unlike in the UK, where the Queen is both the head of state and the head of the church.
    2. There are no bishops appointed as of right to the Irish Senate, unlike in the UK where bishops of the established church sit in the House of Lords
    3. Contrary to what you say the church did not ban abortion in Ireland. It promulgated its teachings, which were anti-abortion, and the electorate voted REPEATEDLY not to have laws legalizing abortion passed (Reminder: the Irish parliament makes the laws, not the church). The same electorate and the Irish legislature agreed to the introduction of both divorce and contraception in defiance of church teaching. Clearly, abhorrence of abortion is a cultural norm not simply a matter of blind compliance with church teaching in all cases. The Irish electorate are more discriminating that you give them credit for.

    I grew up in Ireland and left school in 70s. Even then there was NO QUESTION of attendance at mass being socially compulsory. Church attendance was very high but not mandatory in any way. At the time it was perfectly normal for people to go to mass in a neighbouring parish if the times were more convenient. At the time there were masses on the hour from early in the morning on Sunday, and again in the evening. No busy parish priest then or now could possibly know which of his parishioners had not attended or had gone to a neighbouring church. The idea is simply laughable. On an island parish on the west coast maybe, anywhere else? Get up the yard son.

    I'm no apologist for the Catholic church but It seems you have a large chip on your shoulder. Blame the church. Good man.

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

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