Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Anger (mis)management: BBC and the Scientology controversy

A BBC reporter completely lost his head during the filming of a documentary about Scientology - the UFO religion of Ron L. Hubbard and has several high profile followers, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Yes, Scientology is a bit scary (and so is Sweeney in this video)...but whatever the reason, there is no excuse for such an outburst. It raises other issues also: How does one go about defining religion? Who makes that decision? And should the treatment of its members be different simply because of nomenclature?

So is Scientology a cult or a religion? Does it really matter?

Here is the BBC story on the controversy and here is coverage from Telegraph


CogSciLibrarian said...

Whether Scientology is a religion or a cult is irrelevant when we're talking about news / documentary coverage. I expect that kind of coverage to be at least nominally objective, and screaming about the documentary topic doesn't strike me as objective. If you can't be objective, you shouldn't be a journalist, imho.

Salman Hameed said...

In fact nobody should be loosing temper like that ... let alone a jouranlist. Interestingly, there were at least couple of journalists (e.g. from the Daily Telegraph) that came in Sweeney's defense. I don't think there really is any excuse - independent of what Scientology is doing. We will have to wait for another documentary for a more objective analysis.

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