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Monday, April 16, 2007

Plaid kicked into touch

Plaid Cymru's attempt to spend their London legacy has run into the ground somewhat with the BBC's refusal to broadcast rugby games from the grounds of regional sides where the Party has paid for pitch-side advertising.

Plaid paid £6,000 for the hoardings and are rather miffed that the broadcaster has seen through their little ploy to get around broadcast rules. They have written to the BBC Controller in Wales, Menna Richards to demand that the BBC acknowledges it has no right to order the removal of the posters and that assurances be given to the clubs that the adverts can be replaced.

For their part the BBC say that their rules are quite clear:

"In the UK, there are legal restrictions imposed on broadcasters to ensure that where controversial subjects are covered, for example elections, such coverage is presented with due accuracy and impartiality.

"I think the purpose of such restrictions is clear - it is to ensure fairness. In this context, this means fairness as between political parties. The BBC is under a legal obligation to comply with these restrictions - they are not optional.

"During an election period, the requirement of due impartiality as between political parties arguably becomes even more important. The BBC goes to great lengths to ensure that it meets its obligations of due impartiality during election periods.

"The inclusion of political advertising within sports programming places the BBC in a difficult position. We do not want to interfere with a political party's ability to advertise. At the same time, we have to operate in accordance with the law, and treat parties in this context with due impartiality. It is for this reason that we do not at present believe that we would be able to broadcast matches where there is the prospect of your party's advertisements being featured to any significant degree.

"The Welsh Rugby Union is under a contractual obligation to the BBC to ensure that any advertisements in relevant venues do not infringe the BBC's Charter and Agreement or our Editorial Guidelines. These requirements were included so that our broadcasts do not breach our legal obligations."

I suppose it was worth Plaid trying it on, especially as they can afford it.
I could have told them that. My little sign at the TNS ground at Llansantffraid was covered up last Saturday for the game with Caernarfon. I posted about it. They're not used to handling money.
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