Tuesday 21 October 2008

Multi-choice- a look at DSTV / Mnet's track-record with the church

(Media Study South Africa; c.f. Catholic Watchdog South Africa)

Article by Marc Aupiais

I personally enjoy watching DSTV, I love Carte Blanche, and its power to do good- and not simply because of the French name- and enjoy the variety. What I don't enjoy is the many somewhat suspect movies I have seen on DSTV as regards the Roman Catholic church- from the religious sponsored movie Luther- a completely inaccurate, especially if accurate were Luther's diary of the events, or that of historic sources- depiction of the life of Martin Luther- in which the main Character calls Roman Catholic "friendly" Rome at the time hell, and the pope the devil, or something as bad, to "Saved", and its odd depiction of Christianity, to screening the Davinci Code- to the movie "Breach"- which could well be accurate, as apparently based on a true story- with a main character who is spying on the US, and belongs to Opus Dei it seems. I also think I saw the film Primeval Fear or something on one of their channels- which was not agreeable with my senses, also notable is Kingdom of Heaven and its portrayal of the Church.

A while ago I tried to ask DSTV to add EWTN Global Catholic Television Network, who seemingly supply their service freely- to their television bouquet. I was unsuccessful. There are so many channels with a Evangelical Baptism/Fundamentalist/"Non-denominational denomination" type of feel on their network- that I thought one Catholic, even Anlglican or Lutheran Television station would be just fairness, but I see neither very many Catholic movies, nor many Catholic channels on DSTV.

A channel which is Catholic is Audio channel 170 on DSTV- Radio Veritas- a certainly loyal station, when it comes to obeying South Africa's bishops- which sometimes propagates information contrary to what I have been able to research of history- but none the less propagated by diocesan sources. I also heard it playing music by Justin Timberlake and Madonna (Four Seconds to Save the World) some time ago- but the announcer seemed to be Portuguese, perhaps they thought it appropriate, and the station itself does not claim only to play catholic music- or only music from organizations who promalgate Trinitarian Baptism- as seen in their playing Mormon or other music.

All they promise is the "good news and good music for a change".

One of the problems with Veritas- is that they were interviewing a person from Catholics for Truth, who are hosted on our Archdiocese' evangelism website, who stated-

"As the church became more institutionalised, the gifts of the Spirit became less common and were seen only in the lives of the great “Saints’. Some, such as St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) initially thought that they were meant only for the early Church, to “kick-start” her, so to speak. However, he later withdrew this opinion in his Retractions, when he himself witnessed the gifts in abundance in his own Diocese. It was apparent to him then that the gifts occurred where people had expectant faith."

The page is now only accessibly in Google cache- as the entire "evangelism" site has been closed down without any warning we can tell of.

Also this is stated in perhaps only slightly different words on the radio station, by a person interviewed. These words were not repudiated. One may use scripturelink to search on this- but the manifest fact was Augustine went to such pains to prove the gifts of the early Christians- because he had no examples to use if EWTN is to be believed.

We ourselves have countered these claims on:


This said- Veritas is run by persons within the church, in this I speak of contact I have had with representation of the station- who truly seem dedicated to their tasks- even if those interviewed, or quoted are sometimes doctrinally incorrect- it is good of DSTV to host them.

What point is there in noting this- it lies in believing that what DSTV screens with their news and entertainment is the full spectrum- it is not, nor is it normal for so many films, including a recent screening "Absolution" to be played on a network without any real opposite viewpoint portrayed. It is odd that this should be permitted, and sad that DSTV has not addressed the issue so apparent- in that someone within their buying department or whatever controls their films and programs- has somehow decided to buy rights to such caliber films to screen, and to choose such channels, that it seems some groups are oddly favoured.

All of this said- I still do enjoy watching DSTV- and sadly- just as a certain and in the case of the example, though not DSTV- infamous channel- CBS chose to air Joan of Arcaidia- a clearly Catholic program, so DSTV also has Veritas- more than this it has BBC, whose news is often accurate, and many useful channels. Until a better competitor, and for that matter, one very positive toward faith, and reason- is allowed in the Market- DSTV is still has a wider selection than many.

DSTV's KTV is very well managed- and probably for quality- permit that their programs seem sometimes to be more than a decade old as long as they are suitable, or seem to be for children.

So- ultimately- the weaknesses in DSTV lie in their selection of films, and their over-emphasis on a very small minority religion's perspective in South Africa- while ignoring that of larger groups to some extent- so that this has only appeared on an Audio Channel, and maybe in a few programs on networks they air.

Some links on sources:

Message Board Conversation where some viewers of movies discuss their views. Not all movies in this discussion have relevance
The Film Luther Reviewed
Veritas on DSTV
Radio Veritas
Refutation of statements on Augustine from good sources

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