The High Court has upheld a ban on a Christian radio station broadcasting an ad that asks Christians whether they’re being sidelined at work.
The court said the ad was “political”, but Premier Christian Radio says the decision seemed “reminiscent of a totalitarian state” and has vowed to appeal.
The 30 second ad, which was due to air at the time of the last general election, quoted surveys showing that 60 per cent of active Christians were being increasingly marginalised at work.
But the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) stopped it from being aired, claiming that it was “directed to a political end”.
Lawyers for Premier said: “The advertisement was not a political message but a request for information which could then be used as part of the normal democratic process, where ideas and views are expressed in public discussion, contradicted, answered and debated.”
The station’s owner was granted a judicial review to challenge the RACC’s ruling but on Friday Mr Justice Silber upheld the ban and ruled that the RACC’s decision was “rational and lawful”.
Speaking after the ruling Peter Kerridge, Premier’s chief executive, said: “Our application was dismissed because we planned to inform the public debate and help make a fairer society.
“The decision represents a direct threat to the democratic right to freedom of speech and we intend to continue the fight through the appeal process.
“It greatly reduces the right of ordinary people to have their say in democratic debate and, regrettably, seems to be wholly reminiscent of a totalitarian state.”
The judge said that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has overall responsibility for advertising, had opposed the owner’s application for judicial review.
But he stressed that the MP’s stance was not “anti-Christian” and that his reasoning could apply to any other religion.