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New coalition calls for changes to political advertising legislation

Benedict Pringle

Benedict Pringle, founder of politicaladvertising.co.uk and Alex Tait, founder of Entropy, have launched The Coalition For Reform In Political Advertising. 

The non-partisan coalition is calling on Parliament to implement a four-point plan to reform political advertising:

  1. Legislate so that all paid-for political adverts can be viewed by the public
  2. Create a body to regulate political advertising
  3. Require all factual claims used in political adverts to be pre-cleared
  4. Compulsory watermarks to show the origin of online adverts

The coalition believe these four changes will improve the transparency and accuracy of discourse around elections in the UK.

The campaign isn’t anti-advertising, in fact, quite the opposite. The coalition’s founders are practitioners in the industry and are passionate about responsible advertising; their ambition is to recruit organisations and individuals of all political standpoints to join the cause.

Benedict Pringle says:

“I have a huge affection for political advertising as a discipline and passionately believe that it can be a force for good in our democracy.

Unfortunately, regulation has failed to keep up with the pace of change in communication technology. Political advertising was once a proud British political tradition, it is now at risk of undermining democracy in the digital era.

Political advertisers should be held to at least the same level of scrutiny as all other advertisers in terms having to account for claims made.

To borrow a common political campaigning refrain: it’s time for a change.”

Alex Tait says:

“We believe that the open and honest debate of issues facing our country is fundamental to the functioning of our democracy.

In recent years, the rules designed to safeguard against the spread of disinformation and promote healthy political debate haven’t kept up with the pace of new communication technologies.

As a result our politics is suffering because of a refusal to regulate political advertising.”

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