Party Political Broadcasts - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 17 March 2015 | Standard notes SN03354

Authors: Isobel White, Oonagh Gay

Topic: Broadcasting, Elections, General elections

This note sets out the current arrangements for party political broadcasts including their allocation, frequency, scheduling, length and content. Details are given of the BBC’s final allocation criteria for party election broadcasts (PEBs) in 2015 as well as Ofcom’s rules on PEBs for commercial broadcasters.

Ofcom carried out a consultation in early 2015 about the composition of its list of major political parties, each of which are entitled to at least two PEBs by the commercial broadcasters. On 16 March 2015 Ofcom published a statement on the results of the consultation and the revised list of major parties. UKIP is included on the list but not the Green Party.

The term ‘party political broadcasts’ (PPBs) is used generically here to refer to party election broadcasts (PEBs), referendum campaign broadcasts (RCBs) and the party political broadcasts which have been linked to specific political events such as the Budget and Queen’s Speech.

The Note also makes reference to the long-standing ban on political advertising in the UK and the questions this raises in terms of freedom of expression and compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights.

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