High Court reserves judgment on political advertising ban
LONDON - A High Court judgment on a challenge to overturn a government ban on 'political' advertising has been delayed until September.
In October last year, Animal Defenders International launched the legal challenge against the current ban on political advertising, which means campaigning organisations with no connection to any political party can not use broadcast media to campaign on issues.
If the Animal Defenders International challenge had been successful, it would have allowed it and other campaigning organisations to advertise on radio and television for the first time.
A spokeswoman for the animal campaigning group said it was determined to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if the case fails. It it takes that route it would follow a similar case from Switzerland being heard and found in favour of allowing pressure groups to advertise on TV.
The ADI ad that instigated the High Court action, called "my mate's a primate" and created by Target Marketing Communications, featured a young actress behind bars to highlight the plight of performing primates in advertising.
According to the ADI, the ads have been banned despite an acknowledgement by the government that the current ban breaks human rights legislation.
If the case is successful, it could pave the way for politically natured campaigns such as ADI's "Cruelty to animals" and Oxfam's "Make poverty history" to air on radio and TV in the UK. These ads initially ran on UK TV before being banned.
Other campaigning organisations, such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International, would also be free to advertise.
Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI, said: "The fact is that the UK government prevents certain views from being expressed on television.
"This is a ban on our right to free speech. Our views are banned, but the government can spend over £200m a year on advertising that promotes its own views and policies."
The challenge follows Ofcom's decision to ban the "Make poverty history" ads from UK television after they were declared political by the media regulator.
The ads, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, featured celebrities such as Kate Moss and Brad Pitt clicking their fingers to illustrate how many people die in poverty throughout the world.
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