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ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have won a victory for free expression after forcing Transport for London (TfL) to back down from refusing to consider a peace advert on the network.
TfL initially refused an application from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for advertising space across the capital but has been forced to reconsider following a threat of legal action by the Public Interest Law Centre.
The application, originally submitted in 2021, is for an advert showing a nuclear weapon broken in two by CND’s famous peace symbol. It asks: “Why are we getting more nuclear weapons when we could be investing in healthcare, renewable energy, education?”
TfL had ruled the advert could not be carried because it “promotes a party political cause or electioneering.”
Acting for CND, the law centre argued that the advertisement was not party political and that TFL’s refusal to carry it was potentially in breach of the right to free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
TfL has acknowledged that the original decision was incorrect, that the advert was not party political, and have invited CND to resubmit the advert for consideration.
General secretary of CND Kate Hudson said: “This is an important victory in the defence of free expression.
“Suggesting that taxpayers’ money should be spent on healthcare rather than weapons of mass destruction is hardly a message that should be censored.
“Public discussion and information are vital to our democracy and we will do our very best to defend it.”
Paul Heron, senior solicitor at the law centre, said: “The advert from CND should never have been rejected in the first place.
“While it carried a very clear message that argued for welfare not nuclear weapons, it was not party political and it conveyed a sentiment that would be likely to win mass support.”
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