Buddhist leaders say "God TV" no threat

By Chathuri Dissanayake, The Sunday Times, Aug 5, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- A month after 24-hour 'The Buddhist' channel was launched by Dialog TV, the company has now launched a new channel without much fanfare – ‘GOD’, the evangelical channel of the American New Church.“It is now available to Sri Lankan viewers on request,” Dialog General Manager Nushad Perera said.

“We have not made it available for every one as we are a Buddhist country. Subscribers who want it can call our customer hotline and request activation. There will be no charge on this,” Mr. Perera said. Jathika Hela Urumaya spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said every person had the right to promote his religion. However, he said the promotion should be in a manner without damaging other religions.

Sri Sambodhi Viharaya Chief Incumbent Ven. Daranagala Kusaladamma Thera who was instrumental in the launch of ‘The Buddhist’ TV channel said since 70% of the country’s population were Buddhist and since Buddhism was protected by the Constitution there would be no danger.

Father Alfred Alexander, former head of the Blessed Sacrament Community in Sri Lanka, said he was unaware of the contents of God TV but added 24-hour religious programme channels were good as people who wanted access to such programmes at any time of the day could watch them any time they wish.

Sri Gnana Vairawa Temple Grandpass cheif priest Sivabala Ravi Shanker Sivacharya said such channels should not create divisions through their programmes. The God TV Channel has also been involved in the provision of tsunami relief to Sri Lankan victims.