A Christian radio station has been allowed to go to court to challenge a ban on an advert which asked Christians to report experiences of workplace marginalisation.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) banned the ad from being aired, ruling that it was politically motivated .
The banned ad said:
Surveys have shown that 60% of active Christians are being increasingly marginalised in the work place. We are concerned to get the most accurate data to inform the public debate. We will then use this data to help make a
The station was initially denied leave to challenge the ban in court, but that decision has now been overturned.
Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, said:
This is a victory for Christians across the UK who have time and again had their values and beliefs quashed by a liberal secularist agenda. In addition the English legal system has not protected the basic, fundamental human
right of freedom of expression of religion and belief.
The High Court has granted a judicial review into the ban on an advertisement that asked Christians to report their experiences of marginalisation in the workplace.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) refused to allow the advertisement, made by Premier Christian Radio and intended for broadcast in the run-up to the General Election last year.
The advert quoted surveys showing that 60% of active Christians are being increasingly marginalised in the work place. We are concerned to get the most accurate data to inform the public debate. We will then use this data to help make a fairer
society, it said.
However the RACC refused to let the advert air, claiming that it had a political objective.
Premier was granted a judicial review in June but it was challenged by the RACC. Today's ruling means the station's legal challenge can go ahead. The judge indicated that he would like the case expedited as this is an issue of great importance
that involves the freedom of expression.
A judge declares a Christian radio ad to be political and hence correctly banned.
The proposed 30-second advert for Premier Christian Radio called on listeners to report their experiences of being marginalised in the workplace. It was blocked by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC), because it was directed to a
political end .
London Christian Radio Ltd, which runs Premier, a national station, won a judicial review to challenge the ruling, describing the advert as about the most inoffensive proposed ad one could hope to get .
James Dingemans QC argued that if the advert was in breach of the 2003 Communications Act, which banned political advertising, then the relevant sections of the Act should be declared incompatible with Article 10 of the European Convention
on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression.
However, Mr Justice Silber, sitting in London, ruled that Article 10 had not been breached and that the RACC decision was both rational and lawful . He declared the ad to be political as it was intended to obtain information in a bid to
try to make changes to society .
Peter Kerridge, chief executive of London Christian Radio and the Premier media group, described the ruling as wholly reminiscent of a totalitarian state and said an application would be made to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
A Christian radio station has been given the go-ahead to appeal a court decision which upheld a ban on an advert asking Christians whether they are being sidelined at work.
In its decision to grant the appeal, the court said the radio station's case is Arguable and important .
The legal wrangling centres on a 30 second advert, which was due to air at the time of the last general election. The ad quoted surveys showing that 60 per cent of active Christians were being increasingly marginalised at work.
The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) stopped it from being aired, claiming that it was directed to a political end .
But lawyers for Premier said: The advertisement was not a political message but a request for information which could then be used as part of the normal democratic process, where ideas and views are expressed in public discussion,
contradicted, answered and debated.
A radio advert calling on Christians who feel marginalised at work to report their troubles was rightly banned, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
The proposed advert, a 30-second recording for Premier Christian Radio was intended to urge listeners to report their experiences of being marginalised. The advert script was as follows:
Surveys have shown that over 60% of active Christians consider that Christians are being increasingly marginalised in the workplace. We are concerned to get the most accurate data to inform the public debate. We will then use this data to help
make a fairer society. Please visit CCPmagazines.co.uk and report your experiences.
Premier Christian Radio's chief executive Peter Kerridge described the decision as an:
Attack on freedom of speech and a bad day for democracy in general. The wording of the advert did not seek to achieve a political end, it had no political message and there was no attempt to influence the listener to a particular viewpoint, so
there appears to be no good reason to ban it.
Naturally we are disappointed with the judgment but will now consider further options which may be available to us with our legal representatives.
The advert was banned by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, who said it was directed to a political end , and broadcasting it would infringe provisions of the 2003 Communications Act that ban political advertising. In April last year
a High Court judge in London ruled that it was lawfully banned.
Now a Court of Appeal challenge against the earlier judgment was dismissed in a two-to-one majority ruling of senior judges.
A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said:
The courts have upheld the UK's long-standing ban on political advertising, which is a vitally important principle in our country and at the heart of British broadcasting.