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    Thursday, 11 December 2008

    A Sting in the Political Advertising Tale?

    More on a pet pre-occupation... many thanks to Russ Taylor of OfcomWatch and Oxford Uni for highlighting a very interesting development in Strasbourg today where a Norwegian ban on political advertising has been overturned by the court (TV VEST AS & ROGALAND PENSJONISTPARTI v. NORWAY). Its an analogous case to the recent ADI litigation in the UK that ended up unsuccessful in the House of Lords. I haven't had time to read the judgment in full, but it seems that the court was unimpressed by the argument that the ban was necessary to avoid subversion of the public sphere by wealthy interests. Rather they seem to have seen it - perspicaciously - as precluding voice opportunities for marginalised groups.

    3 comments:

    TransAtlantic said...

    I'm another one for whom this is a pet issue. Having worked in the United States (where the system is far from perfect, but where the argument is quite rightly about the funding - and not the principle - of political advertising), I can say that the UK law is not only contrary to our conceptions of freedom of speech, but a roadblock to political engagement.

    We can't advertise on television, we can't give people lawn signs to put up in their front yards, we can't run pages in the newspaper... and yet we are roundly critized in the media for not engaging with the public!

    The first political ad went out in the States in 1950 - roughly at the same time that the Television was making its way into peoples' homes. Although this is a pet issue, I do feel as though I'm fighting against the injustices of a system which will tire itself out within a decade... and may do better to focus efforts on wider online & new media visibility.

    Andrew Scott said...

    There has been a fair amount of comment on this development, on the blogosphere at least. Also highlighted has been the recent activity of Ofcom on the same point. See:
    The Trans-Atlantic PostI'm Gordon Brown and I approve this message.
    Lex FerendaChristmas Comes Early
    Benedict PringleTime for a [Legislative] Change?
    Adrian MonckBritish Political TV ads - courtesy of Europe?

    Content and CarrierECHR: blanket ban on political tv advertising violates freedom of expression

    So, now the blogging-commentariat is all more or less linked up and cross-referenced is anyone else paying attention? Come back ADI...

    Anonymous said...

    See here for a series of videos launched recently by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust that might easily be ruled out by the existing rules on political broadcast advertising in the UK.

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