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Court ban on Christian radio ad causes a stir

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Issued on behalf of Christian Concern

Press Release

For Immediate Release

22 November 2013

Court ban on Christian radio ad causes a stir

The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision to ban a radio advert asking Christians to report if they have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

The decision has prompted bewildered response from Christians, who see no good reason for the decision.

The wording of the advert was:

“We are CCP. Surveys have shown that over 60% of active 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 a fairer society. Please visit CCPmagazines.co.uk and report your experiences.”

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport originally banned the advert after the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre [RACC] claimed that it had a political objective.

Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson agreed the advert was unlawful, saying it was “directed to the political end of making a fairer society by reducing or eliminating the marginalisation of Christians in the workplace.”

But in a strong dissenting judgment, L.J. Elias said that the advert is lawful because it is simply attempting to facilitate debate and was not directed toward a political end.

He concluded: “If an advertisement does not itself constitute a partial political message, why should it be banned?”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of Christian Legal Centre, said:

“It’s startling that such an innocuous ad, set to be broadcast on a Christian radio station, should be deemed unlawful. It’s clearly an attempt to gain information for the laudable aim of creating a fairer society. There is no attempt in the advert to persuade anyone to adopt a particular political position.

“The court’s decision is chilling, as well as bewildering. We have seen Christian adverts being banned in other areas whilst those of other special interest groups have been allowed.

“We’ve seen TV adverts for abortion clinics, bus ads by humanists claiming there is probably no God and bus ads by a gay campaign group telling us to ‘get over it’. Christian adverts in response to the ‘get over it’ posters were not allowed.

“There now appears to be a clear asymmetry in how Christian messages are being treated by advertising standards bodies.”

ENDS.

For further information / interview:

Andrea Minichiello Williams - 07712 591164

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