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Man Alive: Development in New Guinea

It was religious programming that didn't preach. When Man Alive debuted on Sunday afternoons in 1967, its non-denominational, magazine-style approach differed from any other religion-based program in CBC history. After two seasons, the CBC-TV program moved to a weeknight, becoming North America's only prime time program focusing on religious issues. Over the years, Man Alive featured an eclectic range of topics — from marriage, to apartheid, to UFOs. Roy Bonisteel was host from 1967 until he retired in 1989, after which hosts included Peter Downie, Arthur Kent and R.H. Thompson, who hosted until the program's end in 2000.

"Development is basically about people," says Roy Nihal of the World Council of Churches. He's speaking in this 1973 episode of Man Alive, which explores a development project in West Irian in New Guinea. Nihal believes this sort of development "aims at removing some of the dehumanizing factors in the life of people." But it's not always looked upon positively. As one interviewee points out, the people of West Irian never invited the modern world to their home - but there was "no way to say no."
• The Indonesian part of New Guinea was known as West Irian from 1963 to 1973. Prior to that it had been known by several different names, including Netherlands New Guinea and West New Guinea. After 1973, it became known as Irian Jaya, and in 2000 the area became known as Western New Guinea.
Medium: Television
Program: Man Alive
Broadcast Date: April 2, 1973
Duration: 26:59
Co-production with Religious Television Associates (United Church of Canada)

Last updated: January 26, 2012

Page consulted on January 13, 2014

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