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Buddhist Federation of Norway protests depiction of Buddhist women in television program

The Buddhist Channel, Jan 30, 2011

Oslo, Norway -- The President of the Buddhist Federation of Norway, Egil Lothe has written to the World Fellowship of Buddhist complaining of "distorted journalism" by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Lothe said that on November 23, 2010, the station broadcasted a programme which purportedly denigrated Vietnamese Buddhists living in Norway by implying that Buddhist women  are inferior to men.

In one segment, the presenter insinuated that “the Buddha believed that women were mentally inferior to men and unable to comprehend and practice his teachings."

The Buddhist Federation of Norway (BFN) has reacted strongly against these untrue and denigrating statements regarding the Buddha and the Buddhist religion.

To date, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has yet to issue any statement with regards to this controversy.

The following is the letter in full from the Buddhist Federation of Norway.

---------------

Oslo 12 January 2011


WFB President Phan Wannamethee
616 Benjasiri Park, Sukhumvit 24 off Soi Medhinivet,
Sukhumvit Road,
Klong Toey,
Bangkok 10110, Thailand


A matter of concern for Buddhists

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation is the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company, and the largest media organization in Norway.

On 23 November 2010 it showed a television program presenting Vietnamese Buddhists living in Norway. Through manipulative and distorted journalism it presented these Buddhists as having the attitude that women, according to Buddhism, are inferior to men. This is not the position of Vietnamese Buddhism and their followers in Norway are therefore deeply disturbed by the fact that The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has ascribed such a position to them.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the television presenter in a section of the program referred to as “Useful knowledge about the view of Buddhism on women” claimed that “the Buddha believed that women were mentally inferior to men and unable to comprehend and practice his teachings."

The Buddhist Federation of Norway (BFN) has reacted strongly against these untrue and denigrating statements regarding the Buddha and the Buddhist religion. In spite of the BFN pointing out that such untrue and denigrating statements have deeply hurt the feelings of Buddhists and also created negative attitudes among the public against the Buddhists living in Norway The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has refused to admit any mistake from its side.

We think it is a misuse of a government-owned public broadcasting company to attack a religion by untrue clams such as those broadcasted by The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

We demand that The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation publicly corrects its mistaken claims about Buddhism and offer an apology to the Buddhist community of Norway.

We also appeal to the international Buddhist community for their concern and support in our struggle against the unacceptable treatment of Buddhists by The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Yours in the Dharma

Egil Lothe
President Buddhist Federation of Norway



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