Take Action TODAY to Protect Religious Expression on Canadian Television – Join the Campaign to Keep VisionTV on Basic!

Dear Friends and Partners,

For over 25 years, VisionTV has been Canada’s leading broadcaster for interfaith dialogue, and the world’s only national multi-faith and multi-cultural specialty television service. However, the public’s access to VisionTV is now being threatened. Beginning on April 23, 2013, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will hold hearings to decide whether or not to grant VisionTV the “mandatory distribution” status that would protect its place in the “basic” cable and satellite lineup. If this order is denied by the CRTC, VisionTV will in all likelihood be relegated to discretionary specialty packages that will impair access for millions of Canadians who cannot afford premium service and, in the long term, jeopardize VisionTV’s very existence as a multi-faith and multi-cultural content broadcaster.

As part of the application process, the CRTC accepts public comments and interventions from interested Canadians. The deadline for public participation in this process is February 20, 2013 – take action today to stand for religious expression and protect VisionTV.

Please take a few moments from your day to join us in speaking out against this threat to religious expression in Canada. Your prayers, letters, and financial support are vitally important as we strive to hold our government accountable for upholding religious freedom and the right of religious communities to have a voice in the public dialogue. Make your voice heard today, and tell the CRTC to “Leave VisionTV Where It Is” and tell cable and satellite providers “Hands Off VisionTV”!

The threat to VisionTV is of concern not only to people of faith, but to all Canadians that believe in the value of multiculturalism and religious freedom. VisionTV is the leading inter-faith channel in Canada (and North America) and offers the most extensive space for multi-faith programming and expression, as it provides national airtime for between 70-90 ethno-cultural and religious groups – including Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, and non-denominational spiritual groups.

Far from being merely another specialty channel, VisionTV embodies the essence of Canadian multiculturalism and religious freedom. As you are well aware, OFWI works primarily in areas of the world where religious extremists actively suppress religious expression from minority groups. In Pakistan, for instance, many of the viewpoints expressed on VisionTV would be punishable under strict blasphemy laws. In Egypt, it would be unthinkable for Jewish and Muslim content producers to collaborate and co-exist on one network. Therefore, VisionTV is more than a unique channel: it represents an achievement of Canadian religious freedom that must not be sacrificed for the sake of narrow economic gain.

Services such as VisionTV are essential to the functioning of a multi-cultural society that not only tolerates, but also actively promotes freedom of religion in a world increasingly characterized by sectarian violence and religious persecution.  VisionTV provides an invaluable contribution to Canadian society in two related ways. First, VisionTV provides religious groups who would otherwise be excluded from the public discourse with an affordable and nationally distributed platform to express their viewpoints on important issues. Secondly, VisionTV fosters inter-religious and cross-cultural understanding and learning for Canadian society as a whole by offering access to religious viewpoints and spiritual content on the critical issues of our time. Therefore, the threat to VisionTV is nothing less than a threat to freedom of religion in Canada.

If VisionTV is denied “mandatory distribution” status under the Broadcasting Act, television distributors will have the authority to replace VisionTV in the basic lineup with channels and content owned by the distributors themselves. As a result, VisionTV will be more difficult for faith communities to find and much more expensive for faith communities to access. Therefore, it is critical that the CRTC protect the place VisionTV has enjoyed in the basic lineup for 25 years, and block the attempts by self-interested distributors to increase their revenues at the expense of religious freedom and consumer access to religious expression of their choosing.

As part of the application process, the CRTC accepts public comments and interventions from interested Canadians. The deadline for public participation in this process is February 20, 2013 – take action today to stand for religious expression and protect VisionTV.

Please take a few moments from your day to join us in speaking out against this threat to religious expression in Canada. Your prayers, letters, and financial support are vitally important as we strive to hold our government accountable for upholding religious freedom and the right of religious communities to have a voice in the public dialogue. Make your voice heard today, and tell the CRTC to “Leave VisionTV Where It Is” and tell cable and satellite providers “Hands Off VisionTV”!

Please pray:

• for the Commissioners at the CRTC, that they would stand for truth and justice and preserve religious expression in Canada. Pray that they will not give in to the pressure from interest groups whose only goal is to increase profits, but that they will keep open this channel that gives voice to the voiceless;

• for the management of cable and satellite companies, that they would realize the value of religious expression on Canadian television, and that they would refrain from taking any steps that will make it harder for Canadians to access channels such as VisionTV;

• for our government, that they would uphold religious freedom and protect religious expression in every form, including through television and other broadcast media.

ACTION:

The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead. Please take action urgently and:

1. Sign Our Online Petition
•    Go to: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-religious-expression-on-canadian/

2. Write A Support Letter to the CRTC:

Please address your letter as follows:

Mr. John Traversy, Secretary-General
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
Central Building, 1 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec, J8X 4B1

Re: 2012-0712-6: Application by ZoomerMedia Limited, to obtain a mandatory distribution order under section 9(1)(h) (item 13) of the Broadcasting Act for Vision TV – Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2013-19.

  •   Your letter should be personal – in your own words!
  •   Your letter should be signed – scan and e-mail or fax, or use regular mail
  •   Your letter should state:
  • That you support the application by ZoomerMedia for a mandatory distribution order under section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act for VisionTV.
  • The importance of VisionTV as the only place on Canadian television where different religious and ethno-cultural groups can meet and express themselves;
  •  The importance of VisionTV to Canadian multiculturalism and new immigrant and diaspora communities in general;
  •  The importance of VisionTV to yourself and your faith/cultural community;
  •  The importance of VisionTV to freedom of religion in Canada – as a forum for  promoting inter-religious dialogue and understanding in the face of increasing religious persecution and sectarian violence.

After the signature line:

cc: ZoomerMedia Limited
64 Jefferson Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M6K 1Y4

Please send your letter to us and we will forward your letter to ZoomerMedia (as required by CRTC Regulations) and the CRTC.

Send it by email to: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

Or by regular mail to:
One Free World International
20 Bloor St E, Box 75129
Toronto, ON M4W 3T3

3. Write a Letter to Your Member of Parliament

To find your Member of Parliament:

  • Type your Postal Code under “Voter Information Service” (middle of page) – or you can search without postal code by clicking on the link below the text box
  • Once you have located your riding, click the link under “Your Member of Parliament”
  • Click on the email address of your Member of Parliament to send e-mail OR write a letter using the mailing address provided

Send a copy to us at: info@onefreeworldinternational.org

Or by regular mail to:
One Free World International
20 Bloor St E, Box 75129
Toronto, ON M4W 3T3

Your letter should state:

  • The importance of VisionTV as the only place on Canadian television where different religious and ethno-cultural groups can meet and express themselves;
  • The importance of VisionTV to Canadian multiculturalism and new immigrant and diaspora communities in general;
  • The importance of VisionTV to yourself and your faith/cultural community;
  • The importance of VisionTV to freedom of religion in Canada – as a forum for promoting inter-religious dialogue and understanding in the face of increasing religious persecution and sectarian violence;
  • Ask your Member of Parliament to write the CRTC and express these concerns and protect VisionTV’s place in the homes of Canadians!

4. Contact Your Cable or Satellite Provider

  • Find the cable or satellite provider in your area
  • Call the number listed or click on the website for details on how to send a letter
  • Generally the procedure to send your email is to click “Contact Us”, then the “Comment”  or “Complaint” link
  • Copy us at the email address or mailing address above

 

Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling.  They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.

“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.

Be with God and may God be with you.

Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries

 

The work of One Free World International is wholly supported through the voluntary donations of our friends and members. These donations are not tax deductible because we choose to pursue the dream free of the legal restrictions placed on charities. If you would like to share in the dream in this manner, you may send your contribution to:

One Free World International
20 Bloor Street East, Box 75129
Toronto, ON
M4W 3T3

Or Direct Deposit to:

Bank: TD Canada Trust
Institution Code: 004
Transit Number: 12492
Account Number: 1249 5002036 (Canadian deposits); 1249 7200215 (U.S. dollar deposits)
Swift: TDOMCATTTOR

You may also make a donation through PayPal by visiting our homepage: www.onefreeworldinternational.org.

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