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ELSA MOOT COURT COMPETITION 2014
Political Advertising Memorial
- Students’ Political Party – SPP – is a newly formed political party advocating student rights which has just been established a few months ago. It enjoys the full and unconditional support of all student organisations in Malta and of all students at the University of Malta, the Junior College, private sixth forms, the MCAST and the ITS.
- As SPP aspires to participate in the next round of general elections, it wants to be afforded the necessary publicity to its beliefs, proposals and activities. It has thus recruited a Media Advisor to assist it in getting its message through, not only to its student base, but to the population at large.
- The Media Advisor is recommending to the SPP’s National Executive that the party embarks upon a publicity campaign which, apart from organising various visits to schools to spread its message, would disseminate to the general public various information materials on the SPP. Such material is to be disseminated to the print media, the new media and the broadcasting media.
- The National Executive of SPP has adopted the advice given by its Media Advisor and has delegated to its Communication Team the task of putting into practice the advice given.
- Whilst the press and the new media accept, at a cost, to carry all the publicity material of the SPP in their respective media, the broadcasting media are asking several questions to the SPP Communications Team before taking a decision as to whether to broadcast such publicity material or not.
- In particular, broadcasters are requesting the following information from the Communications Team:
(a) is the publicity material in the nature of an announcement of a future activity of SPP or is it a political advertisement?
(b) should the publicity material be in the nature of a political advertisement, will it form part of a scheme of electoral programmes of the Broadcasting Authority?
(c) if the publicity material will be distributed through a discussion programme, has this discussion programme been approved by the Broadcasting Authority and does the programme seek to broadcast the views on the programme’s theme of all political parties contesting the general elections?
- SPP want to proceed with their publicity material on radio and television but the broadcasters are refusing to allow SPP’s publicity material to go on air on the bases that such publicity material, if broadcast, would be in breach of the Broadcasting Act’s provision disallowing political adverts unless and until such adverts form part of a scheme of political electoral broadcasts. In the meantime the general election is fast approaching and in six months’ time the people will be called to cast their vote.
- SPP has called you, as its Legal Team, to advise it with regard to the broadcasters’ refusal to air its publicity material. Advise SPP.
- In the meantime, the Broadcasting Authority has also got to know of SPP’s intention to broadcast political adverts in breach of the Broadcasting Act. If you happen to form part of the Authority’s Legal Team, what advice would you tender to the Authority?