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23 June 2011

Premier Radio wins right to judicial review

Premier Christian Radio has won the right to a judicial review over the decision by the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) to stop the broadcast of an advert. 

The advert was planned for broadcast in May 2010 ahead of last year's general election. It called on Christians to share their experiences of workplace marginalisation, and the information would have been used to inform public debate ahead of the vote. 

The RACC refused clearance for the advert on the grounds that it had a political objection, and despite a subsequent rewriting and re-submission the advert was still rejected. 

In response Premier Christian Radio put in an application to the High Court in July 2010 to argue against the RACC's decision. The complaint was launched directly to Jeremy Hunt MP, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, who has overall responsibility for broadcasting regulation. The decision to grant a judicial review, which came on 17 June, overturned an initial decision that refused the application.

In response to this decision Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, said: "This is a victory for Christians across the UK who have time and again had their values and beliefs quashed by a liberal secularist agenda. In addition the English legal system has not protected the basic, fundamental human right of freedom of expression of religion and belief. Premier Christian Radio, a voice for Christians across the UK, has succeeded in challenging this."

Tom Ellis of Aughton Ainsworth, the solicitors representing Premier, said: "I am very pleased with the result. The case raises some very important points of principle for Christians and the case will now proceed to a full hearing before the High Court."

Mr Kerridge went on to say: "It's just ironic that, being a Christian radio station, addressing a mainly Christian audience, that the advert we wanted to air was ever an issue."