ONE TV chairman Jason Micallef has called for Evangelist Christian fellowship group River of Love’s TV programme to be pulled off the air, warning the show could fuel religious fanaticism.
“A Maltese local station is allowed to broadcast dangerous sermons filled with hatred, stupid things and religious fanaticism in the name of the ‘sect’ River of Love,” Micallef said.
“These programmes have been broadcast every week for years, and it isn’t the first time that they’ve ended up in court disputes where it was proven that they caused hatred against others.”
“If I were an MP, I’d have long ago proposed a motion to censor such programmes from local TV stations.”
“There’s no room in this county for such ridiculous television. This isn’t a show that we can ridicule when we see the ‘pastor’ saying stupid things but rather very dangerous broadcasting.”
“However, no one has the balls to say it, or they come up with the excuse of freedom of expression or Malta having introduced anti-censorship laws.”
River of Love’s TV show Ħabbejtek, which features pastor Gordon-John Manche, airs on Smash TV.
The controversial religious community found itself in the spotlight yesterday following the murder of Pauline Dembska in Sliema’s Independence Gardens.
This was after a video taken on New Year’s Eve by an avid River of Love supporter surfaced, in which he described murder suspect Abner Aquilina as his “brother”.
River of Love has distanced itself from Aquilina, stating that they don’t know anything about him, that he was never part of the group, and that they have no control who visits their church.
Micallef warned that Malta shouldn’t delude itself into believing that acts of religious terrorism will never take place on its soil.
“Our country and society has changed and will keep on changing. One of the main (but not only) reasons is social media, dangerous sites of religious fanaticism and/or extreme politics, satanic acts, conversion, fundamentalism and other preaches produced on sites intended to confuse already confused minds.”
“It has been proven that a number of global terrorist acts and/or mass killings had their seeds in these sites.”
Micallef’s intervention is quite ironic seeing as he chairs a TV station that encourages its viewers to adopt a stance of political tribalism.
ONE TV and NET TV are the only two political-party owned TV stations in Europe and broadcast political propaganda on a daily basis despite the Constitution plainly saying that broadcasting in Malta should be impartial.
Lovin Malta has filed a constitutional case challenging the constitutionality of a proviso in the Broadcasting Act that allows political broadcasting on political party media.
Cover photo: Left: Jason Micallef, Right: Gordon-John Manche on Ħabbejtek
What do you make of Micallef’s proposal?