LondonNet : Latest News Headlines
14/05/07
London Cops, Scientology and the BBC
- Officers feature in show with You Tube shouty-clip sensation

John Travolta arrives at the film premiere of Wild Hogs at The Odeon West End on March 28, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)CITY of London police have been dragged into the extraordinary row-cum-screaming match between the BBC and the church of Scientology.

Ken Stewart, Chief Superintendent of the City of London police force will be seen on tonight's Panorama programme backing Scientology.

Last year, his colleague Kevin Hurley described the church as a "force for good". Hurley was present at the grand opening of a new UKP24 million Scientology centre on Queen Victoria Street in October 2006 and other officers have received hospitality from Scientologists.

Stewart's appearance on Panorama's Scientology and Me will be overshadowed by the scene in which presenter John Sweeney shouts down Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis.

The pair had been engaged in a running battle during filming of the programme and in the end Sweeney is reduced to screaming at his equally stroppy subject.

"YOU WERE NOT THERE!" the BBC man bellows at Davis, their faces inches apart. The clip has been seized on by Scientologists who are reported to have sent 100,000 DVDs to opinion formers around the world as well as posting the video on You Tube, in an apparent attempt to spike Panorama's guns.

The pro-Scientologist DVD, received today by LondonNet, is produced by 'Freedom Television', who are based at the organisation's UK headquarters at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, West Sussex, once home to their founder L. Ron Hubbard. In addition to the Sweeney and Davis clip, the counter-documentary claims to highlight "154 would-be violations of the BBC and OfCom Guidelines" in the making of the Panorama story.

"The push for ratings in a highly competitive media world must not be satisfied by relegating fairness and accuracy to the level of tabloid stunts" says Freedom TV's editor, Graeme Wilson.

Among Scientologists angry at the BBC is Wild Hogs star and friend of Davis John Travolta, who said that Sweeney showed "bigotry and animosity" in the programme.

More on the row from the BBC's viewpoint here.

You Tube's John Sweeney section here.

LondonNet archive background to Scientology and the City of London police here and here.



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