For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
May 27, 2009
COLOMBO (UCAN) — A Catholic charismatic group is incensed by a locally-made reality TV series called “Loving Star” that features scantily dressed women. The program is modeled on the US reality television dating game show, “The Bachelor.”
Ratings for the Sri Lankan version are sky high but not all are happy. Critics say the sight of scantily dressed young women competing for the attention of a movie star is damaging to society.
The Catholic group, called Pubuduwa (Awakening), has taken aim at the show, putting up posters around the capital and in the coastal city of Chilaw that say: “Stop televising ‘Loving Star.’ Don’t harm children.”
Sarath Fernando, a Pubuduwa member, says the group objects to the show because it features young women in revealing clothes, dancing in ways it disapproves of, and using inappropriate gestures. He said he was shocked when he saw it.
Fernando said his group had printed up to 12,000 posters while members were also urged to write to the authorities, social welfare centers and the Church to complain.
Another person to disapprove of the show is Ranjith Balasooriya, a Buddhist and father of one. He said many people condemn “Loving Star.” “It is my duty to protect my only child,” he said.
Internet chatrooms have also featured complaints and comments critical of the program which some say is an insult to Sri Lankan culture. The locally produced show is still being broadcast despite the complaints, however.
Campaigners, however, say they will not let up until the program is cancelled.
Pubuduwa is a Catholic charismatic movement founded by Father Siri Oscar Abeyrathne in 1971 as a youth movement. Its 15,000 members have run several awareness programs against events that they say harm people’s spirituality and social relationships.
They also run seminars and workshops to educate youth to live according to good values.