Comments: EHRC statements on cinema advertisement ban

What nonsense from people who should know better.

Cinema chains are private businesses, to which free speech protections don't apply. Churches have no more right to dictate what theaters show than theaters have the right to dictate the content of sermons. (Though it'd likely be an improvement if they did!)

Posted by James Byron at Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 9:42pm GMT

I think the ECHR have really lost the plot here. I think they are now saying that cinemas and others are obliged to take anything and cannot give thought as to whether people will be offended or not on grounds of freedom of expression. OK. Can we now start counting down from 10 until all manner of stuff now has to be beamed onto cinema goers in the name of being offended to prove we have freedom of speech - Satanists, atheists, pro and anti abortion and all manner of unusual religious groups will surely avail themselves of their right to offend others with private entities having no recourse. Yes there is the right to offend on occasions but surely not a duty to do so.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 11:45pm GMT

@ James Byron. Agreed. Freedom of speech is not honored when governments, or bureaucrats, or established religion can tell a media outlet what they must carry. The church is a bit of party crasher on this one, no? Can't get a crowd at evensong, so let's muscle in on the Star Wars crowd and harangue them.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 1:17am GMT

If government is about to determine what adverts cinema chains must accept, let's abandon all pretense and let government dictate which movies may be shown as well.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 5:34am GMT

"Cinema chains are private businesses, to which free speech protections don't apply"

Not sure why being a private business has much to do with whether the law applies to you or not. It didn't work as a defence for the 'gay cake' bakery.

And there are much better reasons (as this thread already shows) for cinemas not to allow religious advertising. I think it's good for free speech for the 'someone might be offended' excuse for banning religious content to be given a decent burial.

Posted by David Keen at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 10:15am GMT

In total agreement with James Byron. This is a nonsense. A private business can show what the hell it wants in its own chain of cinemas, to please and satisfy its customers as it sees fit.

The equivalent would be to insist that Satanists should be allowed to have a slot in church services to promote their beliefs, 'because they have a right to offend'.

Not that I am having a go at Satanists.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 10:31am GMT

James Byron does not seem to realise that the cinemas first accepted the Lord's Prayer video and even offered to show it at a discount. Their censorship was an afterthought.

It will be interesting to see what advertisements will now be run alongside Star Wars, and what values they promote.

Posted by John Barton at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 11:48am GMT

David: free speech protections in particular don't apply to theaters, since free speech is protection from government coercion, and no business, not even Trump Tower, has its own dungeon.

John, if the cinema chains caused the Chruch of England to lose money by making then withdrawing an offer, the church may be able to sue for breach of contract, or something similar. Free speech is simply irrelevant.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 2:50pm GMT

"There is no right not to be offended in the UK"

There is in the advert reel shown before a U, PG or 12A film, because small children are legally entitled to be there and the adverts must be compatible with the certificate of the main feature. For 12A films then usually the front matter is certificated at U. It's unusual for adverts and trailers to be certificated at PG or 12A, because those (in theory at least) rely on parents reading the certification material; you don't get that choice before being shown adverts or trailers. So any advert of trailer shown prior to a film certificated at 12A (as The Force Awakens is) will itself be at U. It's hardly difficult to make the argument that in a multi-cultural society, running adverts for religion X to children being raised in religion Y could cause offence, and in a way which parents have no way to deal with (as you aren't told in advance which adverts there will be).

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 14 December 2015 at 3:19pm GMT

Yes. Please, whine and get offended. That'll show 'em how the Christian faith is different and able to weather insults.

I mean, really! In the face of something this egregious, this horribly anti-Christian, what are persecutions in the Middle East, or even beheading, crucifixion, or being burned to death on a metal grid? You had your advertisement pulled! And in the Christmas season, clearly indicating how Christianity has been allowed no place at all in the public forum!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 7:48am GMT
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