TV viewer sues for blasphemy

AN evangelical Christian has started legal action against Channel 7 over the use of the name "Jesus Christ" as a swear word in a top crime thriller.

Andre van der Linden claims the use of the name in the British-made series Prime Suspect is insulting and disrespectful to Christians.

"It is high time that television stations like yours be called to account for your defamation of the name Jesus Christ, a practice that insults hundreds of thousands of Christian believers," Mr van der Linden said in his legal documents.

Seven will defend the legal action, saying the TV show is a realistic reflection of day-to-day life.

But Mr van der Linden, a pensioner from Waranga in northern Victoria, alleges the network has breached new racial and religious vilification laws.

He contends that blasphemous words should be "bleeped out".

After five years of writing complaints to television stations, Mr van der Linden says he has had enough.

"After years of raising my voice in protest, it seems abundantly clear to me that Christian believers are the most vilified group in this nation," he says in his formal complaint.

He made an official complaint to the Equal Opportunity Commission last year, which was dismissed.

But Mr van der Linden is continuing his legal fight at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Seven spokesman Simon Francis said it was the first time the network had faced legal action under vilification laws.