VisionTV nixes controversial cleric


TORONTO -- Canadian multifaith religious broadcaster VisionTV on Friday began airing a public apology for broadcasting lectures by controversial Pakistani preacher Srar Ahmad, some of which allegedly called for a holy jihad.

"I condemn any reference to or suggestion of holy war or violent jihad by any group. I regret that Mr. Israr Ahmad's statements may have conveyed such a suggestion, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that it does not happen again," VisionTV president and CEO Bill Roberts said in a statement.

The channel came under fire for airing Ahmad's lectures as part of its weekly Dil Dil Pakistan series, which is independently produced.

Last week, VisionTV took Ahmad and his Koranic readings off the air, and indicated it will review how it programs its schedule to guard against similar incidents.

The channel also will consult the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, which censors the domestic airwaves on behalf of private broadcasters, on how to change its programming procedures.

"VisionTV subjects all of its programs to intensive scrutiny. Should any program be found in violation of VisionTV's Code of Ethics, it will be withdrawn from the air immediately," the channel said in its statement.