L’Œuvre d’Orient, a French non-profit association, has had its radio ads blocked by Radio France on the grounds that it is not permitted to promote any one religion.

The purpose of the ads was to appeal for funds to help Christians in need in the Middle East.

In a press release issued on Monday, December 7, the charitable organisation said it did not want to cause a controversy but it had exhausted all attempts to persuade the radio station to change its mind.

Calls to France’s media ombudsman have not been answered, L’Œuvre d’Orient said.

“L’Oeuvre d’Orient does not see how the mention of Christians… would be likely to shock the convictions of listeners,” the charity said, adding that it is “firmly attached to republican secularism, to respect for all religions, and also to freedom of expression.”

Radio France said: “Radio France does not broadcast advertising referring to any religious, philosophical or political community, whatever it may be.”

However, L’Œuvre d’Orient has had more luck with its poster campaign. The RATP agency had at first demanded that the word Christian be removed, but the charity issued a legal threat and the posters were given the go-ahead. RATP also offered more spaces.

PHOTO: Mgr Pascal Gollinsch of L’Œuvre d’Orient Courtesy La Croix