Ban on political TV adverts survives in knife edge 9-8 court vote

An Electoral Reform Society press release reports:

The Electoral Reform Society has welcomed news that the ban on paid political broadcast advertising is to remain in place following a knife edge 9-8 vote at the European Court of Human Rights.

The Society had warned that lifting the ban would escalate the current ‘arms race’ on political spending and fuel the rise of the British SuperPAC – the interest groups that pour millions into advertising independently of the US parties at and between elections…

Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:

“This ruling should be welcome news to all democrats. Lifting the ban would have irrevocably changed the political landscape in Britain, and not for the better. The last Senate race in Pennsylvania cost more than our three main parties spent on the last General Election combined. And it didn’t buy a higher quality of debate – just back to back attack ads.

“The US experience shows the only people who would profit from TV attack ads are moneyed interest groups, TV networks and paid political consultants. The biggest loser would be democratic debate in Britain.”

The ruling follows a legal action brought by Animal Defenders International over the current ban.

4 responses to “Ban on political TV adverts survives in knife edge 9-8 court vote”

  1. The 9-8 vote was too close for the European Court of Human Rights to have any real credibility. Another failure in practice.

    • John Symons Worth remembering that several layers of British (domestic) courts can make decisions by a majority vote and a margin of one suffices, so if that’s your basis for judging credibility much of the British legal system fails it too.

      • @MarkPack Very true. I was reacting emotionally to how easily the decision could have gone the other way. I must also admit that I remember several occasions when I was glad that the European Court of Human Rights overruled one of those very authoritarian Labour Home Secretaries. I have been glad of the existence of the Court less often under the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition.

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