The British government is opposing an application to the Hight Court for a ruling that a ban on political adverts on TV and radio breaches human rights. According to the Financial Times the government believes “there is no absolute right for anyone to be able to broadcast his or her opinions under human rights law and that any interference with freedom of expression is justified”.
Political adverts on TV and radio are banned by the Communications Act of 2000. Animal Defenders International, supported by Amnesty International and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is challenging this in an action in the High Court. The law prevented Amnesty using radio adverts to bring attention to genocide in Rwanda.
The government claims that this suppression of free speech is necessary to prevent “undue commercial influence over the public”.
Britain does not have a written constitution that would prevent state interference with free speech. This also allows the British Broadcasting Corporation to prosecute those who watch other broadcasters' TV without its permission, which it will give only on payment of an annual fee.