ONE's new advert 'The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity' has been banned from being broadcast in the UK. The advert aims to focus the world's attention on the famine and food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Clearcast, the body which is responsible for clearance of television adverts, claims that ONE and the advert do not comply with rules covering political advertising in the UK.
Clearcast informed ONE that the advert is not suitable for broadcast because "the ad itself is not a traditional money raising ad, rather it seems to be aiming to motivate and enlist people to create change." For this reason Clearcast states the advert could contravene section 7 of the UK Broadcast Advertising Code.
The advert is being shown on TV channels in France and the United States.
Adrian Lovett, Europe Director of ONE, said:
"We think it is completely wrong and absurd that this advert has been banned from TV in the UK. 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."
Drought may be an act of nature, but famine is not. The current crisis in the Horn of Africa is a man-made disaster that could have been avoided. But we don't have the necessary political will to stop the starving – and its causes. As a consequence, millions are affected and tens of thousands of children have died.