A group of prominent church leaders has urged M-Net to immediately cancel its new series ‘Lucifer’ that makes evil trendy and has the potential to influence youth to dabble in the occult to their detriment.
The call is made in an open letter to M-Net signed by Dr Isak Burger – President, AFM of South Africa, Dr Anton van Deventer – Federal Leader of the Full Gospel Church of God SA, Dr Nico Landman – President of the Pentecostal Protestant Church SA and Pastor Nevil Norden – Leader of Living Word SA (Lewende Woord SA).
In reply to an inquiry from Gateway News, M-Net says its CEO, Yolisa Phahle appreciates that the series does not appeal to all of its viewers but it is scheduled on M-Net Edge which is not for family-viewing, and that verbal and on-screen warnings provide parents and sensitive viewers an opportunity to make an informed viewing choice.
The full text of the church leaders’ letter reads:
We have recently been informed that M-Net has decided to move the “Lucifer” series to Friday nights in the 23h00 timeslot and have increased the age limit to 16. We also understand the series will be available on DStv catch up.
We thank you for relocating the program to a later timeslot and for increasing the age limit. However, we are not convinced these actions will mitigate the potential harm caused to the many vulnerable young people in our country.
The Lucifer series, whether intentional or not, portrays Satan – the personification of all that is evil – in a sympathetic manner. This is highly dangerous especially to impressionable youth in our nation.
The program portrays Satan as a cool and misunderstood individual. Again, whether intentional or not, the impression one gets after viewing the program is that Satan, whom the Bible calls the “father of lies” is not such a bad guy after all. Lucifer, then, is given a Hollywood makeover and becomes more appealing.
This may be regarded as fantasy. But our history reveals that movies, TV programs and music do have a psychological effect on young people. There have been numerous reports in the news media of young people dabbling in the occult with devastating consequences for them, their families and society at large.
We further believe the trendy portrayal of the devil in the “Lucifer” series will mainstream evil behaviour. The popular media has historically been used to either humanise or dehumanise people to great effect. The “Lucifer” series humanises the personification of evil to the extent that evil becomes trendy.
Evil, or the personification thereof must be strongly condemned and discouraged not positively and sympathetically portrayed in the popular media. We trust that M-Net will put people before profit and will act swiftly to protect our youth from negative and damaging influences on national television in South Africa.
As a result of our spiritual and moral responsibility to society, we the undersigned Christian leaders in South Africa strongly urge M-Net to immediately cancel – in its entirety – the Lucifer series from South African television. We appeal to the management of M-Net to consider its social responsibility to a nation plagued by crime, violence and all manner of evil.
The full text on M-Net’s official response to the letter is:
At M-Net, there is a great focus on serving the viewing preferences of a diverse audience. Whilst we appreciate that Lucifer doesn’t appeal to all of our viewers, it is scheduled on M-Net Edge, a channel which broadcasts edgy, provocative and highly-acclaimed series. This is not a channel for family-viewing and this is communicated to viewers.
The Registrar of the BCCSA has agreed that Lucifer is a bona fide drama, and believes that by moving the programme to 23h00, and increasing the age restriction to 16 we have acted in a responsible manner.
In their opinion, the verbal and on-screen warnings at the start of the programme affords parents and sensitive viewers an opportunity to make an informed choice as to whether to watch or not.
We also understand that some people may like to block certain content. By activating the parental control function on your decoder, this is possible. On certain decoders, you are also able to block the entire channel.