Thursday, October 25, 2007

Australian Idol stars banned from talking about God

by Daniel Blake
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2007, 7:27 (BST)

Australian Idol finalists have been gagged from talking about God or anything Christian, according to reports emerging from Australian-based publications.

The final six competitors of the music talent competition have been told that they must not answer questions about their religion or personal beliefs, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to the Herald, “although no wrongdoing has been proved (most Idol contestants have huge communities supporting them, whether it be a country town or a church community) television chiefs are concerned about the effect of the stories on the 'street cred' of the show."

"They promised the Idols they wouldn't have to talk about Christianity," a spokeswoman for Australia's Channel Ten said.

"They've all been really upset by the stories that are floating around. The interview can't go ahead if you ask them about religion," she said, after initially cancelling an interview with The Sun-Herald because it would include questions about their beliefs.

The interview did eventually get permission to go ahead though following an agreement that Christianity would not be talked about.

The contestants have expressed their shock at the ban, but have now agreed to abide by the show’s demands.

Contestant Matt Corby said, “I don't really mind [talking about religion], but obviously I won't if they say so.”

Sydney contestant Daniel Mifsud said: "I think sometimes it can overshadow what we're here for, that's not the point of being on Idol. I don't have any real religious affiliations, I'm not here to push my religious views on anyone. It's already been stated that some people go to church. Let's leave it at that."

However, another contestant Tarisai Vushe was not happy to find out she was being prevented from giving her views.

"It's not allowed? I didn't know about that," she said.

FremantleMedia is the content and production division of RTL Group, Europe's largest TV, radio, and Production Company. Its world headquarters are located in London, England.

The company acquired various British and Australian production companies including Grundy Television, Crackerjack Productions, which have now merged to become FremantleMedia Australia, Thames Television and Talkback Productions.

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