Monday, February 12

Religious TV station's fundraising questioned

The Miracle Channel is a cable station which is carried across Canada. Owners of the station have applied for the right to set up transmitters in Calgary and Edmonton that would broadcast the channel over the air for free.

As a result, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will have jurisdiction. The CRTC plans to question the TV station's fundraising methods when it appears.

At the heart of the debate are statements by on-air hosts during past fundraising drives. In one of the most controversial examples, a host told viewers in 2004 to cash in their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) for donations.

“There is somebody right now watching, and God is speaking to them about RRSPs. They've got RRSPs, and they've got a sizable amount, and it's a security thing. Well, it's not a security thing; your security is in God. And God's speaking to you to cash those in. And I dare you to do it,” the host said.
The Globe and Mail reported on its website the Miracle Channel Association received a letter last week from the CRTC that said its “approach to solicitation of funds” will be discussed at the Calgary hearings.

In a letter to the CRTC, Gordon Klassen, vice-president of broadcasting for the station, said the channel's on-air hosts have been “instructed to qualify their statements to ensure that viewers understand clearly the theological principles of giving in such a way as to prevent miscommunication or exaggeration of what a gift will or will not accomplish.”

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