S4C 'peace' advert ban claim by Cymdeithas y Cymod

A group that promotes peace claims an advert it wanted to air on the Welsh language channel, S4C, has been effectively banned from television.

Cymdeithas y Cymod, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, said it wanted to counter recruitment adverts for the armed services.

But the body used to clear TV adverts, Clearcast, said it could breach rules banning political causes.

However, an advert image has been cleared to run on S4C's online service.

The fellowship said its 30-second film aimed to highlight the cost of war in money and lives.

But it said the advert had been rejected for broadcast on live television because it was a matter of "public controversy".

Mererid Hopwood, a member of the Fellowship's executive committee, said: "If peace is a matter of 'public controversy,' then war must belong to the same category.

"And yet, the armed forces have been allowed to advertise regularly on S4C."

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Clearcast is the main company used by British commercial broadcasters to ensure advertisements meet strict rules on what can be promoted.

Responding to the fellowship's claims, a spokesperson for Clearcast said it had considered the advert and the role of the society in light of rules drawn up by the broadcasting authority, the Committees of Advertising Practice (Bcap).

"Rule seven of the Bcap code states that 'political' advertising-advertisers cannot advertise on television," said the spokesperson.

"'Political' is very widely defined. It does not relate to the nature of the cause wishing to advertise.

"On the face of it and after some discussion with them it appeared that a number of Cymdeithas y Cymod's activities, lobbying government etc, breached that rule but it is open to them to provide further evidence to the contrary."

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Clearcast said the same rules did not apply to video-on-demand services, which meant an advert could run on S4C's online channel.

A spokesperson added: "As far as we are concerned the debate is in no way closed and if they wish to provide us with more evidence as to why they are not wholly or mainly caught by the rule, we would obviously be more than happy to consider it."

In a statement, S4C responded: "In this case, Clearcast has not cleared the advert by Cymdeithas y Cymod for use on television.

"S4C has shown an advert on behalf of Cymdeithas y Cymod on its website, as that is permitted under the rules on on-line advertising."

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