Letter: Political Adverts

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Rentoul ("Now for a short break from free speech", 15 December) criticises the Independent Television Commission for banning the Christian Aid advertisement advocating the cancellation of Third World debt.

He goes on to say that "clearly" it would be wrong for the Trades Union Congress to be allowed to produce an advertisement supporting, say, the Liberal Party. Why is this so clearly wrong? We are all familiar with the excesses of political advertising in the US, but this stems from the strength of freedom of speech enjoyed by Americans, the same freedom (lauded in John Rentoul's article) which makes it possible for concerned people of all kinds to pay collectively for a TV advertisement stating their case.

True freedom of speech is only possible when granted to all - rich people, poor people, politicians and soap makers. If the TUC can place political advertising on TV, I will rejoice to see true freedom of speech in this surprisingly repressive country.

Justin Keery

London WC2