Scientologists Try To Block Highly Critical Film
The Church Of Scientology has expressed anger at a German TV film that is reported to be critical of the controversial organization.
Germany's state broadcaster, ARD, is planning to broadcast the film, titled Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt, which translates as Until Nothing Remains.
The 90-minute drama tells the story of Heiner von Ronns, a German man who leaves the organization after donating a large amount of money, and ends up losing contact with his daughter and wife, who remain members. The film is based on a true story.
Reports indicate the film is notable for being extremely critical of the organization, portraying it is totalitarian and dangerous.
Scientology leaders called the drama a piece of propaganda and have sought to censor the film before its broadcast, criticizing the state station for not supporting religious tolerance.
Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for Scientology in Germany, said, "We will show that the so-called expert engaged by ARD Ursula Caberta is feeding the media false information," adding that the film's reportedly true story is fabricated.
"Exactly the opposite of what ARD shows is the truth," he said.
ARD's programme director Volker Herres has dismissed the accusations, and hit out against Scientology.
"We're not dealing here with a religion, rather with an organization that has completely different motives," he said. "Scientology is about power, business, and building up a network. Its lessons are pure science fiction, it's no religion, no church, no sect."
The Church of Scientology has had a difficult history in Germany, where it is officially designated an anti-constitutional organization.
In 2007, the German protestant church called Tom Cruise the "Goebbels of Scientology" after Cruise, a prominent member, starred in the film Valkyrie, set in Nazi Germany. The following year the German government attempted to ban the organization after reports of illegal activity.