OSLO, Norway, Nov. 4 (UPI) — A newscaster on Norwegian state television said she was told she can no longer wear a small gold cross on the air because of complaints from viewers.
“What I don’t like is that people out there can just call in and tell my boss what I should and I shouldn’t wear,” Siv Kristin Saellmann told The Local.
Saellmann began wearing the cross last month on a program broadcast by NRK’s regional news for southern Norway, The Local.no reported.
Viewers immediately began to call in and complain to regional editor Anders Sarheim, demanding that Saellmann not be allowed to wear the cross.
Saellmann said her husband recently bought the cross.
“I didn’t wear the cross because I wanted to be provocative,” she said. “I am a Christian but right now I see the cross everywhere. It’s part of the catwalk. It’s part of fashion. It’s not something only Christians wear. I didn’t think that people would react.”
Sarheim told Saellmann she could no longer wear the cross on the air because there is a “clear policy that news anchors should be dressed neutrally and we encourage them to avoid the use of jewelry with religious and political significance.”
Saellmann said she will comply with the policy.
“I wouldn’t like it if people that watched me read the news on TV considered me as being apart in some way. I want to be as neutral as possible,” she said.
R.It reports, some viewers — especially members of the local Islamic community-protested claiming that catenin “with the cross offends Islam,” and “this symbol does not guarantee the impartiality of the channel”.
Recalling the case of Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in attendant who was sent home from work for wearing a crucifix. The case has been widely reported in the UK media because various groups have argued that it shows either anti-Christian prejudice in the UK,or alternatively, favoritism towards people of faith.
In the case of Coptic Christian Eweida, the judgment of Strasbourg had highlighted “the importance of freedom of religion, an essential element of the identity of believers and Foundation, among others, democratic pluralist societies”. At the same time, however, the Court had warned by cases in which “the religious practice of an individual trespasses on the rights of others”. In those cases, it may be “restricted”. Who knows the necklace of Kristin in which case falls.
VOP: When Nadia Eweida took her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the court said BA had not struck a fair balance between Ms. Eweida’s religious beliefs and the company’s wish to “project a certain corporate image”. The ECHR ruled she suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs.
A professional journalist should be able to report on any subject no matter their religious belief, or how much they may personally disagree with a point of view. Reporting, or discussing a subject is not agreeing with it, but enlightening others to bring knowledge and a level of understanding about the topic. Being that she is a well known, respected journalist in the nation, her choice of jewelry should not be irrelevant.
As a Christian interested in upholding religious freedom and expression, it is disappointing that she would be concerned that others might consider her as ‘being apart’ in some way. In my opinion it would have been better for her to explain that her religious belief, or a cross around her neck would not affect her ability to report the news. No one should be forced to hide their Christianity to please others.
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