Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bono charity ad showing campaign on Africa banned for breaches of advertising rules

Robert Dex

A CHARITY founded by Bono has been stopped from showing a campaigning advert about famine in Africa on UK television because it breaches rules covering political advertising.

The minute-long film, called The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity, features stars including the U2 frontman, George Clooney and Kristin Davis and is designed to draw attention to the famine in the Horn of Africa.

Adrian Lovett, Europe director of ONE which campaigns against hunger and poverty in Africa, said it was "absurd" the advert could not be shown.

He said: "ONE is not a political party and we have no political affiliation. We recognise the purpose of the broadcasting code is to keep political propaganda off British television, but our ad highlights the desperate plight of 750,000 people in east Africa who the UN warns could die before the end of the year. Unless we keep the spotlight on this crisis and the need for urgent action, those people will be forgotten. Who can object to that message? We are challenging this decision and hope the broadcasters will reconsider."

The film is part of the charity's Hungry No More campaign which calls for governments to help tackle the underlying causes of the famine and help support sustainable agriculture in Africa.

A spokeswoman for Clearcast, which is responsible for the pre-transmission examination and clearance of television adverts, said the film could be in breach of rules laid down by the 2003 Communications Act.

She said: "These rules ensure that adverts aren't being broadcast by bodies whose objects are wholly or mainly political. ONE appears to be caught by this rule as they state that part of their raison d'etre is to pressure political leaders. It also appears that a number of the claims made in the version of the ad that we have seen are directed towards a political end, which is again against the rules. We have asked ONE to provide us with further information should they feel their advert is not in fact in breach of these regulations and await their response.

"A broadcaster that carries an advert in breach of the rules on political advertising faces potential statutory sanction by Ofcom which could include a fine or revocation of licence."

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