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TV channel sued by Christian

AAP, Australia
Apr. 21, 2004
Tim Clarke • Wednesday April 21, 2004

A pensioner is taking legal action against Channel Seven over the use of the name “Jesus Christ” as a swear word, saying it is time for Christians to be awarded the same respect as other religions.

Andre van der Linden has claimed the use of the name in the British-made series Prime Suspect was insulting and disrespectful to Christians.

He has lodged a complaint with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), alleging Channel Seven had breached new racial and religious vilification laws.

He said he wanted to do something to ensure Christians were afforded the same respect in the media as Muslims and Aborigines.

“We don’t like to see people vilified in this country. Aboriginal people have taken a lot of time to be regarded on a basis where vilification is a no-no. Muslim people are never vilified in terms of media,” Mr van der Linden told ABC radio.

“But I have seen them pour scorn on Christianity more than any other religion.

“I am not just against Channel Seven, they are not the worst by any means. I would appeal to them to basically … come to an arrangement so they bleep out every illicit reference in the name of Jesus Christ.

“Christians are fair cop for all type(s) of vilification, but when it touches the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords as we refer to him, then it is absolutely unacceptable.”

Channel Seven intends to defend the action, which is scheduled to be heard by the tribunal in two weeks.

If no agreement is reached then the case will go on to a magistrates hearing in Shepparton in August.

A spokesman for the network said it did not believe it had breached its code of conduct, but Mr van der Linden, from Waranga in northern Victoria, said he hoped the case would set a precedent.

“I personally feel very vilified by such usage, and I have been writing for the past five years to TV stations trying to get them to include this in their codes, but nothing really has happened,” Mr van der Linden said.

“I am not after any money, or anything for me personally, I just want to draw attention to the fact that this (is) actually unacceptable.”

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