Political Advertising Bans and Freedom of Expression
Greek Public Law Journal, Vol. 27, 226-228
3 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2014 Last revised: 24 Jul 2019
Date Written: October 6, 2014
In Animal Defenders International v UK, the 17-judge Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK’s ban on political advertising on television, as applied to an animal rights organisation, did not violate freedom of expression. The Court divided nine votes to eight, with the majority opinion abandoning the Court’s previous ‘strict scrutiny’ review, and laying down a new doctrine for reviewing political advertising bans. This article, first, examines the role the composition of the Grand Chamber played in the outcome of the case. Second, questions the basis of the new doctrine of review. And third, criticises the majority’s treatment of precedent.
Keywords: European Convention on Human Rights, freedom of expression, political advertising, broadcasting, political speech, parliamentary deference
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