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In his classic novel 1984, George Orwell described the technique of propaganda: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.”
When journalists disregard reporting the truth and engage in systematically attempting to shape perceptions, mold cognitions and manipulate understanding to forward their own hidden hate agendas, they are no longer involved in reporting news. They have become propagandists, involved in a shell game where lies are presented as truth and propaganda is disseminated as fact. The individuals in this section have crossed that line.
A free press is a fundamental guarantee of democracy. Yet, when false or distorted information wrapped up in inflammatory and dramatic hate speech are spread to intentionally destroy the reputation of individuals and groups, the media degenerates into a propaganda weapon that not only foments bigotry but spurs some without accurate information to acts of hatred and even violence.
According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the fundamentals of ethical journalism include: “Seek Truth and Report It. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair.” The Code also states that journalists should “Support the open and civil exchange of views,” “Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience,” and “Avoid stereotyping.” Fomenting anti-religious bigotry flies in the face of these obligations.
Many media ethics codes around the world prohibit incitement to hatred on religious grounds. A sampling of those codes is included in this chart. Propagandists who engage in hate speech violate fundamental human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a cornerstone of the United Nations Bill of Rights, explicitly prohibits:
“Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.” Article 20 (2) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
This provision elevates the right to be free from incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence resulting from advocacy of hatred to the status of an international legal human right.
The individuals portrayed here have violated these ethical standards and this human right through denigrating the Scientology religion, its leaders and members, thereby inciting discrimination, hostility and, in a number of instances specified on this site, violence, engaged in by perpetrators claiming they were incited to acts of hatred by anti-Scientology media. Some of the most vitriolic attacks against religion have come from members of the media who have abandoned their obligations under established standards of professional journalism that govern accurate reporting and who seek to garner headlines by inciting hatred.
STAND exposes propagandists to provide the public the truth and to keep such poison from spreading and harming others.
International covenants against inciting bigotry
As part of its mission to bring about understanding and tolerance of religious diversity, STAND fully supports the following instruments, charters and codes: