Scientologists to extend campaign to ITV

A 60-second cable television commercial made by the Church of Scientology may move to terrestrial stations, reaching potential audiences of millions of viewers, the organisation said yesterday.

Heber Jentzsch, the President of Church of Scientology International, said that there was no legal obstacle to showing the advertisement on the ITV network, or to the run which starts today on the cable stations UK Gold and UK Living. The cable run was regarded as a "pilot" to test its impact, and it could be shown on mainstream television "in perhaps three months," he said.

It was also confirmed that the organisation, which is not regarded as a religion under English law, has applied for charitable status. A spokesman for the Charity Commission said, "The application is being considered."

Unveiling details of the commercial at a London press conference, Mr Jentzsch said its central theme was "trust" between and among people. "The message is that it is possible to be happy in this world," he said. "And we hope to be successful in spreading that."

The advertisement shows people from different cultures saying the word "trust" in different languages, and it ends: "On the day when we can fully trust each other there will be peace on earth."

Mr Jentzsch denied that the commercial was manipulative, and said those who described the church as a brain-washing cult were "anti-religious". "People can make up their own minds," he said.

In 1993, an attempt to show a similar commercial failed when the Independent Television Commission (ITC) ruled that the church was not a suitable organisation to advertise, a decision it reversed in April after legal and academic advice. Mr Jentzsch said this represented a "major step forward" for religious freedom in Britain, contrasting this country with the obstacles the church faces in Germany, where the film Mission: Impossible was recently boycotted because of its star Tom Cruise's connections with the church.

An ITC spokeswoman said the ITC would monitor the commercial to make sure it did not break any rules, for example by propagating religious dogma.

Scientology was founded in 1954 by the American science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard who claimed to have discovered Dianetics, supposedly the science of mental health.

It claims 100,000 UK members and 8 million world-wide but has been criticised for using "high pressure" tactics to gain new members, and has also been condemned for allegedly dividing families and charging substantial fees for courses.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea