Charity takes ASA to court over decision to ban poster

A charity will go to the High Court later this year in an attempt to have a ruling against it by the Advertising Standards Authority declared illegal.

A charity will go to the High Court later this year in an attempt

to have a ruling against it by the Advertising Standards Authority

declared illegal.



The challenge is the latest in a series of skirmishes between the

International Fund for Animal Welfare and the ASA and is indicative of a

growing willingness among advertisers to contest what they consider to

be unreasonable decisions by the authority.



The case will once again put ASA procedures under scrutiny by the courts

and may expose what some legal experts see as its vulnerability in not

having an independent body to rule on disputed adjudications.



The row is over the ASA decision to uphold a complaint by Tesco against

an IFAW press ad. It called on the supermarket to stop selling Canadian

tinned salmon as a protest against the alleged clubbing to death of

seals by Canadian fishermen.



The ad, produced by Wood Burden Smith & Bergin, was in the form of a

public message to Tesco’s chairman, Sir Ian MacLaurin, and carried the

headline: ’Every tin of Canadian salmon Tesco sells is another blow Sir

Ian.’



IFAW executives say the ASA’s ruling against the ad was unlawful because

it failed to follow its own codes.



They also argue that two members of the ASA council, Richard Bradley, a

director of L’Oreal, and Len Sanderson, deputy managing director of the

Telegraph, which the charity says has been hostile to it, should have

stood down when the case was discussed.



Gregory McEwan, IFAW’s lawyer, said: ’The ASA is saying we can’t link

Tesco with a campaign to change public opinion because it is too remote

from it. We find that bizarre.’



Caroline Crawford, the ASA’s public affairs director, said: ’A judicial

review is a way of testing our procedures, which have been found to be

reasonable and fair. Our council is very open about members’ interests

and if anyone was thought to have a conflict of interest they would not

be invited to vote.’



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