15 September 2005 Edition

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Make Poverty History too political!

A television advertisement for the Make Poverty History campaign has been pulled from the air as it was deemed too political by Ofcom, the body charged with vetting television and radio advertisements in Britain.

The advertisement in question features different celebrities such as Liam Neeson, Brad Pitt, Kate Moss, Bono and others clicking their fingers every three seconds making the point that a child somewhere in the world dies from the effects of poverty.

The ads have already been shown on various television channels last Christmas and also in the run up to the various Live Eight concerts last July.

The Make Poverty History campaign, which is a coalition of about 300 charities and other concerned individuals and groups insist that global poverty is "the great moral issue of our time" and not "a narrow party-political issue". The main aim of the Make Poverty History campaign is not to raise money but rather to draw the attention of the wider public to the issue, in other words "awareness-raising rather than political".

This has led Ofcom to interpret "awareness-raising" as being political and cited the (British) Communications Act 2003, where "political advertising, or advertising by bodies with political aims, is banned from television and radio". Thus Ofcom have used the definition of "political" as a means to ban the ad.

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