Monday, November 23, 2015

Did the Cinemas move the goalposts on the Church of England advert?

Taking this blog and facebook together, the majority of comments here and Facebook to my posts about the Church of England adverts have been from people supportive of the idea of banning political and religious adverts.

Though I am also told that there have been a lot of people including moderate atheists and representatives of other religions who have complained in no uncertain terms about the ban and said that they do not find the banned Church of England advert showing people reading the Lord's Prayer in any way offensive.

Both sides are entitled to their opinion and the cinemas are entitled to set their own policy, but on at least one important point, it is beginning to look very much as though the supporters of the cinema and critics of the Church were wrong on a point of fact, and one of posts on my blog supportive of the advert and against the DCM decision was right.

Several people have said there was a "pre-existing policy" to ban such adverts. Digital Cinema Media (DCM) certainly appeared to give that impression but in fact it would appear that this is not the case.

According to the Daily Telegraph,

"Email correspondence between the Church and DCM shows that in July a member of the company’s sales team offered the Church a 55 per cent discount if they signed a deal for the ad campaign, which it is understood would then have cost in the region of £250,000."

It was only a month later that the Church was told the cinemas could not carry the advertisement after all because they could not “carry any ads of a religious nature”.

The Church of England says that when their Director of Communications asked for a copy of the policy as recently as September 17 he was told by DCM’s finance director that “there is no formal policy document”.

This week DCM were pointing journalists to a policy which is now available on their website, but a company spokesman did not respond to requests from the Daily Telegraph to clarify when the policy had been drawn up.

I do not think Digital Cinema Media come very well out of this affair.

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