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Use of informational resources of Dnepropetrovsk by non-governmental destructive organizations Версия для печати Отправить на e-mail
29.10.2010

According to data presented by Agency of Governmental Communication and Information under the President of Russia, expenses of the USA on development and buying the means of informational war expired in four times; today these expenses take the first place in all money given to military programs. The effect of using informational means of struggle is the same that of using weapons of mass destruction.

In order to understand how destructive cults use mass-media specialists from Dnepropetrovsk Center Assistance to the victims of destructive cults “Dialogue” hold analyses of temporal resources of mass-media, i.e. “Zarja-gorod” regional newspaper, and regional and city TV-channels. This very choice can be explained by the following reason: when people address special mass-media resources which are issued by cultic organizations they usually know the topic and that means they estimate the given information critically. In case when the source of such information is printed issue of power organs, TV-channel or internet, people become unprepared to rational perception of manipulative information. And this means there is higher possibility for people to become victims of its negative influence.

The object of the research was “Zarja-gorod”, newspaper of Dnepropetrovsk Regional Council, which is full of advertisements of different magicians, healers, fortunetellers; it is also full of articles which are told to be scientific-popular. But in reality these articles appeared to be religious and mystic.

Editorial staff of the newspaper does not give proper announce to such articles. It is manipulation itself, and it does not correspond to criteria of informational safety.

The column “Spiritual life” was the main object of the research because of its size (2 pages). This very column was published within one year period from September, 2006 to September, 2007.

Konstantin Maximov, the editor of the column, in his annotation to it tells that its content is “full of love to Ukraine, Dnepropetrovsk and its citizens; it is full of tolerance, patriotism, honesty and adherence to principle.” The reader is promised to receive positive impressions from the column, which it represented almost like truth in its last authority. The analysis of a number of articles published in this newspaper determines the level of conformity to this annotation.

In the beginning Mr. Maximov makes people believe in the fact that they are helpless in front of higher powers. He writes: “… if you sin in something, you are guilty in everything; you can do nothing by yourself; you will be punished, and you cannot avoid this punishment.”

He also writes: “… you are bad, you are sinner; you are guilty you were born such a person, this is your nature.” It makes people feel guilty and inferior. After that he suggests the way to get rid of unpleasant emotions, i.e. one should come to church, repent and become respectable Christian. The author of the articles divides the world in two parts. The first part is happy, successful, joyful Christians who long for making others realize all positive sites of being believers. The other part is the rest world which is stuck in sin; it is inert, full of suffering and fears. The reader is given a choice: if you want to be happy and successful then come to us. And in case he does not want to become a part of church, his fate will be unenviable.

At the end of each type rage there is an advertisement of “Fire of Awaking” church, in which Mr. Maximov is pastor. The editor of the column uses different materials in order to present his views as competent. For example, skeptics are suggested to read a number of articles which present scientific proof of God existence. But they are given without sources. For those people are less rational there are materials with philosophical context; besides there are stories of church members about their hard life in the world, and how this life changed when they started visiting “Fire of Awaking” church.

Authors of publications outline their participating in deciding important social questions, for example, drug addiction. One article was dedicated to problems of drug addiction, and the church is occupied with treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts. The readers who do not have such problems are suggested to join “Fire of Awaking” in order to help the church with money. There is a statement that official medicine is helpless in the field of treating drug addicts; though in practice rehabilitation is impossible without special help.

Such publications form positive attitude towards the image of church, and they outline leader’s (i.e. pastor’s) authority. Along with main materials there are short publications which intensify the feeling of uncertainty and the fear of the world surrounding us. All these are classical examples of psychological manipulation. Five issues of the column are dedicated to this very topic.

After the positive image of competent source is created, the editor of the column starts another cycle of articles which are dedicated to social and public-political problems. It is outlined that the church must take the leading position in deciding of these problems (up to participating in governing of country). Though, according to acting constitution, the church is detached from the State. As a recipe for solving problems they suggest full “christianisation” of citizens. As an example the editor tells about South Korea and the USA.

The Europe, which lies closer to us as to geography, the author of articles criticizes hard; he tells that all problems of the region are connected with collapse of Christian values and propagation of Islam. Authors of the articles published describe all phenomena and processes of society which are different from those of their church’s ones very critically. Such polarity of information is typical for psychological manipulation; and especially in those cases when one cannot prove his/her point of view.

The Governmental Institute of Family and Youth Problems of Ukrainian Ministry of Family, Youth and Sport made a complex expertise of the activity of “Fire of Awaking” religious organization in 2005. Here are several abstracts of the conclusion:

1. The activity of the “Fire of Awaking” religious organization can be estimated as such which has all signs of the charismatic cult; it is characterized by:

-       dogmatism of religious teaching which is a typical sign of charismatic cults;

-       free and preconceived interpretation of Bible and the history of Christianity; attempt of creating a new history;

-       authoritarianism of the leader which is supported by strict hierarchy of relations within the organization;

-       pretention of oneness, opposition to outer world, neglect of traditions and gaining of Ukrainian culture;

-       manipulative exploitation of organization members based on their insufficient intelligence, weakness or problems, expectation of miracles;

-       active orientation on participation in political processes; wish to influence the authorities of the country;

2.  The activity “Fire of Awaking” religious organization has signs of negative influence on psychological health of members. The use of psychological and psychical influence by the leaders of organization contradicts to acting Ukrainian legislation.

So, specialists determine the organization as one which has signs of a destructive cult.

The next block of articles is orientated on determining the image of an “enemy”. This role is given to the European Union (3 big articles), Islam (3 articles along with criticizing Europe and European values), Communistic ideology (which was named “satanic”), and non-governmental organizations which do not share points of view of the church. The latter was represented by “Dialogue”, Dnepropetrovsk Center Assistance to Victims of Destructive Cults (5 big articles which contained farfetched accusation of shooting pastor’s automobile). Leaders of the cult use principle: “the more absurd is lies, the easier is to believe in it.” In September, 2009 a number of Internet-resources (www.reactor.org.ua; www.evangelie.ru; www.invictory.org) published articles in which pastor of “Fire of Awaking” church accused “Dialogue” of preparing an act of terror, i.e. arson of the church building.

In determining the image of an enemy, authors of the articles use negative tones together with shade of humiliation. But, no even slightest basis to prove the guilt of “enemies” is given. Such accusation is psychological manipulation, which helps the reader to perceive negative image of the “enemy” as something initially hostile, aggressive, as something that threatens to positive characters, with which readers associate themselves on sub-consciousness level.

The last block of articles is devoted to strategic plan of church development in political and financial spheres. Political means that only Christians are to do with politics; quotations from the Bible are given as a proof. Financial means that one must pay tithe and the amount of donations is straight proportional to the “holiness” of the donator.

Thus, the conclusion is that information published in this very column are initially manipulative, they are discriminative on the religious and ideological principle and can become a reason for conflicts on religious ground.

The use of governmental informational source (“Zarja-gorod” newspaper) by religious leaders can cause sense of anxiety, frustration, guilt, aggression towards people who got in the “enemies” group. Besides, this information calls for spreading own ideology which is harmful for other ideologies; this can become a reason for interreligious conflicts. It can also cause negative attitude towards traditional Christian Confessions, because representatives of the church call themselves “Christians in general”; they also outline the unity of all Christian denominations.

Table 1. Themes of articles in the column “About Everlasting” (“Zarja-gorod” newspaper)

Quantity of articles

Popularization of the church

Articles with neutral context

“enemies’ exposure”

49

20 (41%) (the church is outlined as the only existing mean to solve all problems of the society and personality)

14 (29%) (articles contain results of some scientific researches which are aimed at supporting positive image of Christianity)

15 (30%), there were named such enemies as:

-       worldly state in general – 10*

-       Representatives of Islam – 2

-       Representatives of other ideological values (communists, democrats) – 3

-       Representatives of non-governmental organizations (“Dialogue” center) – 5

 

*the author used several themes in one article

 

Recently, many religious organizations use television for advertising of their actions; it is also used as powerful informational resource for distributing of their ideology.

“Doorway in Heaven” religious organization has its own weekly TV-program named “Believer’s Victorious Voice”; it is broadcasted both on state and private channels.

“Regeneration” spiritual centre, headed by pastor Muntjan, systematically uses television for advertising of mass actions which are held to heal, release from damnation, and conjure people and so on. There are many evidences about healing from such diseases as cancer, AIDS, drug addiction and other serious problems.

Spirina Irina Dmitrievna, chief psychotherapist of Dnepropetrovsk region, doctor of medical sciences, professor, member of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, writes the following in her conclusions about mass action of “Regeneration” spiritual centre: “There is no, and there cannot be any scientific motivations for healing from diseases (cancer, schizophrenia, epilepsy, diabetes, insult and others), which are mentioned by pastor Muntjan.

Unapproved use of psycho-techniques results in destructive consequences of influence both on personality and on group. This very session is based on mass psychotherapeutic influence and mass hypnoses

The use of such techniques may result in violation of psychical health of the participants of the action.”

Here is an extract from conclusion of scientific laboratory of psychological accompaniment of executive-official work of organs of internal affairs of Kiev National University of Internal Affairs: “There are formal signs of illegal actions determined by Article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which are found in holding of mass actions of “New Generation” religious organization and “Regeneration” spiritual centre.”

Uncontrolled use of means of mass communication by destructive cults can be qualified as real threaten to national safety.

Jan Shchekaturov

The head of “Dialogue” Dnepropetrovsk City Centre Assistance to Victims of Destructive Cults.

 


 

References

1.     “Zarja-gorod” weekly newspaper of Dnepropetrovsk regional council, 2005-2007.

2.     www.maranatha.ru, www.invictory.ru, www.cnl.tv, www.prochurch.info

3.     Informational safety. Social-legal aspects. Ostrouchov V.V., Petrik V.M., Prisjazhnjuk M.M., Kiev, 2010.

4.     Manipulation with consciousness. Kara-Murza S.G., Kiev, 2003.

5.     Psychology of manipulation: phenomena, mechanism and protection. Docenko E.L., Moscow, 1997.

6.     Collective behavior// Psychology of masses. Blummer G. Samara, 1998.

7.     Psychology of mass communications. Harris Richard. 2002.

(o 29102010)

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