There have been two very interesting legal decisions surrounding political advertising in the last week that means the UK could experience 3rd party political advertising on TV similar to the above commercial screened in the USA this week (yes, i have used a cool ad to get you to read my thoughts on slightly dry EU law…).
Firstly, Channel S have been fined for advertising two Liberal Democrat candidates during this years London Mayoral and GLA elections.
This ruling in itself is not massively interesting, until one considers that the European Court of Human Rights ruled this week that Norway’s ban on political advertising on television was in breach of peoples’ right to freedom of expression – Article 10 of the Human Rights Act (for more legal detail see Ofcomwatch and Lex Feranda, both interesting blogs surrounding media and the law). I assume that such a ruling means that the UK will have to revisit legislation that bans political advertising on TV (I’m not a lawyer…)?
Even if it has no binding effect, perhaps it’s time to relax the rules anyway. The current legislation is designed to prevent wealthy organisations being able to buy public opinion on political issues / elections – an accusation which is levied at the USA which is relatively unregulated with regards to political advertising. Whilst I broadly agree with this principle, as online media consumption increases such legislation will become more and more irrelevant; that’s not to say that money = online success, but it certainly helps.
I will be very interested to see how this legal issue unfolds…