Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 204 (Mar)
Neutral Citation: [2002] EWCA Civ 297
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Simon Brown, Laws and Jonathan Parker LJJ

Representation David Anderson QC, Martin Chamberlain and Maya Lester (instructed by Brown Cooper) for the claimant.
  David Pannick QC and Mark Shaw (instructed by the BBC Litigation Department) for the defendant.
Judgment Dates: 14 March 2002


Elections - Parliamentary - Broadcasting election items - Claimant registered political party opposing abortion - Claimant wishing defendant broadcasters to screen party election broadcast - Defendant broadcasters declining to transmit election broadcast on ground material offending against good taste and decency and likely to be offensive to public feeling - Whether broadcasters justified in banning the proposed party election broadcast - s 6(1).

The Case

The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the Prolife Alliance against a decision by the BBC and other terrestrial broadcasters to decline to transmit in Wales a party election broadcast graphically illustrating what was involved in abortion process and including clear images of aborted foetuses in a mangled and mutilated state. The court held that although the broadcaster's views were entitled to be respected, their force and weight were modest at best in the context of political debate. It was for the court to decide for itself whether censorship was justified. They held that it was not, in the instant case, as there was nothing gratuitous or sensational or untrue in the proposed broadcast.

Practice Areas

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