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Report No. 255

G. A Comparative Perspective

7.41. The international practices regulating political advertisements mainly involve several measures like banning all political advertisements (U.K.), duty of media to give reasonable opportunity to publish to all political parties, mandatory disclosure requirements etc. This section elaborates on the modalities and validity of such restrictions in various jurisdictions.

(i) The United Kingdom

7.42. In the UK, all paid political advertising is banned from television and radio. The ECHR held that the ban imposed by the UK was compatible with the Convention. X and the Association of Z v. United Kingdom, App. No. 4515/70, 38 Eur. Comm'n H.R. Dec. & Rep. 86 (1971). This prohibition extends not only to political candidates and parties, but also to any advertisement which aims to influence public opinion on a matter of public controversy. 294

It also maintains strict restrictions on printing and publishing by third parties during campaigns. Prior to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, 2000 (PPERA), no political party could accept more than £5 as they were regarded as election expense. In Bowman v. United Kingdom, App. No. 24839/94, 26 Eur. H.R. Rep. 1 (1998) the ECHR decided that the limit of £5 was contrary to the right of freedom of expression contained in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As of now, Section 79 and Schedule 9 of PPERA allow every national party a spending limit of £30,000 per constituency in a general election for the House of Commons. The Broadcasting Act, 1990 incorporated the practice of broadcasters letting out airtime for party political broadcasts. 296 Sections 36 and 107 of the Act provides for procurement of licenses to carry political broadcasts from the ITC and the rules to carry out the broadcasts within permissible limits.297

294. Michael Karanicolas, Regulation of Paid Political Advertising: A Survey, Centre for Law and Democracy, March, 2012

296. Bernd-Peter Lange, David Ward, The Media and Elections: A Handbook and Comparative Study, at 149

297. Section 36, Broadcasting Act, 1990,

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