THE FACTS

The facts of the case as submitted by the applicant may be summarised
as follows:

1. The first applicant is a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in 1910
and resident in B. The second applicant is an association founded by
him on .. May 1968 and run by him as an "absolute controller" solely
responsible for its operation, finance and policy. The main objects of
the association are to "gather together in a single organisation all
British people who wish to determine the destiny of Britain" and "to
demand that in all matters affecting the British way of life and the
British Constitution the issue shall be determined directly by the
people of Britain".

2. In the original submissions the applicants complain that the
association has consistently been refused an opportunity to put forward
its point of view on both the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
and independent television networks. It is contended that this
interferes with the right under Article 10 of the Convention to impart
information.

3. The applicants submit that so far as the BBC is concerned, the
refusal to allow them broadcasting time is contained in a series of
letters between .. December 1969 and .. January 1970. The position
adopted by the BBC in this correspondence was that the "usual criteria
(i.e. the grounds for allowing broadcasting time) are representation
in Parliament or (at election time) the number of parliamentary
candidates in the field".

According to the applicants, this provision automatically excludes them
from expressing their point of view on the air as the association does
not put forward candidates for election. In the applicant's submission,
this restriction by the BBC is made in agreement with and by the
authority of the respondent Government.

4. In ... 1970, the association applied to Westward Television Ltd. to
purchase advertising time. On .. January 1970 the company replied that,
while it seemed that the association was not a political party as it
did not intend to put up candidates for election, a number of the
objects of the association were obviously concerned with political
issues. It would therefore be unable to advertise on Westward
Television. In this connection reference was made to the following
provision in the Independent Television Code of Advertising Standards
and Practice (April 1969):

"No advertisement may be inserted by or on behalf of any body, the
objects whereof are wholly or mainly of a religious or political
nature, and advertisements must not be directed towards any religious
or political end or have any relation to any industrial dispute."

This provision refers to and is virtually identical with Schedule 2,
paragraph 8 to the Television Act 1964. This Act governs the
constitution and powers of the Independent Television Authority whose
function under the Act is to provide television broadcasting services,
additional to those of the BBC.

On .. January 1970 the Independent Television Companies Association
Ltd. to whom the matter had been referred confirmed the position taken
by Westward Television.

The applicants then wrote to the Ministry of Posts and
Telecommunications asking that Schedule 2, paragraph 8 of the 1964 Act
should be repealed as it was in conflict with Article 10 of the
Convention. In a letter of .. March 1970 the Ministry stated that the
clause concerned served "to prevent the exponents of political views
with the longest purse - whoever these may be - from having an
advantage in terms of buying time on television to promote their
cause". If the clause did not exist, less well endowed parties or
movements would have great difficulty in maintaining their point of
view in the face of massive purchase of advertising time by their
opponents. In the Ministry's opinion, this safeguard was covered by
Article 10 (2) of the Convention as being necessary "for the protection
of the ... rights of others". The applicants then requested certain
clarifications of this statement but were informed by the Ministry on
24 April 1970 that there was nothing to add.

5. In a further submission to the Commission dated 15 March 1971, the
applicants have made further allegations and complaints.

Referring to the general election which had taken place in June 1970
subsequent to the introduction of the application, the applicants claim
that the conduct of this election demonstrates not only the substance
of their complaint but also its clear effects in practical conditions.

The applicants recall that the main political parties are given
broadcasting time in proportion to their respective strength in the
House of Commons. The applicants maintain that during the official
election period the "Party Political Broadcasters" continued right up
to polling day. However, other political parties with several
candidates in the field were not provided with similar broadcasting
facilities. In the applicants' opinion, these broadcasts during the
election period were illegal according to the Representation of the
People Act 1949 and later amendments. As such broadcasting time is
provided free, this constitutes a contribution to party political funds
which is not available to any political party or organisation not
represented in Parliament.

The applicants further submit that although provision is made for the
conduct of an election to be challenged, an elector is required to
first give security in the sum of £1,000 in violation of Articles 6,
13 and 14 of the Convention.

6. In the submission of 15 March 1971, the applicants sum up their
specific complaints and allege that there is a violation of Article 10
of the Convention on the following grounds:

- Prohibition of political advertising by the Television Act 1964,
Schedule 2, paragraph 8;

- This prohibition has even greater significance when the major
political parties reserve to themselves exclusively the right to
broadcasting time. In the case of television this broadcasting is
carried out simultaneously on all channels;

- This special facility when used illegally during the period of an
election not only violates Article 10 but also Articles 6, 13 and 14
of the Convention;

- There is no effective remedy before a national authority because
either such an authority does not exist or remedies through official
channels are made difficult or impossible by onerous legal provisions
and discrimination in violation of Article 14;

- Not only has the respondent Government failed to carry out is
obligations under the Convention but it has conspired with special
interests in Britain to restrict the rights and freedoms set forth in
the Convention.

THE LAW

1. The applicants have complained of the refusal of the BBC to allow
the applicant Association broadcasting time and alleged thereby a
violation of Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention.

However, under Article 25 (1) (Art. 25-1) of the Convention, the
Commission may only admit an application from a person,
non-governmental organisation or group of individuals, where the
applicant alleges a violation by one of the Contracting Parties of the
rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention and where that Party
has recognised this competence of the Commission.

The Commission may not, therefore, admit applications against private
individuals or bodies whose acts do not entail the responsibility of
a Contracting Party under the Convention.

In the present case, the question arises whether the respondent
Government could be held responsible under the Convention for any acts
of the BBC (see No. 3059/67 Collection of Decisions, Vol. 28, p. 89).
However, the Commission does not find it necessary to determine this
issue in the circumstances of the present application as, even assuming
that the allegations made by the applicants could involve such
responsibility, this part of the application is, in any event,
inadmissible on other grounds.

It is evident that the freedom to "impart information and ideas"
included in the right to freedom of expression under Article 10
(Art. 10) of the Convention, cannot be taken to include a general and
unfettered right for any private citizen or organisation to have access
to broadcasting time on radio and television in order to forward its
opinion. On the other and, the Commission considers that the denial of
broadcasting time to one or more specific groups or persons may, in
particular circumstances, raise an issue under Article 10 alone or in
conjunction with Article 14 (Art. 10, 14) of the Convention. Such an
issue would, in principle, arise, for instance, if one political party
was excluded from broadcasting facilities at election time while other
parties were given broadcasting time.

In the present case, the Commission finds, however, that the applicants
have failed to establish the existence of any such particular
circumstances. An examination of this complaint, as it has been
submitted, does not therefore disclose the appearance of a violation
of Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention or any other provisions
thereof.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2), of the
Convention.

2. The applicants have also complained of the legislation which
prevents the independent television network in the United Kingdom from
accepting advertisements of a political nature. The Commission has
again considered this complaint under Article 10 (Art. 10) of the
Convention.

The Commission notes that, apart from the limitations on the exercise
of the freedom of expression set out in paragraph (2) of Article 10
(Art. 10-2), paragraph (1) of the Article (Art. 10-1) provides that
this "Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of
broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises". The Commission
considers that the notion of licensing implies that, in granting
licence, the State may subject radio and television broadcasting to
certain regulations. In this context the practice in different member
States of the Council of Europe should be taken into consideration. It
is clear that a number of these States do not permit any advertising
at all on radio and television, whereas other member States allow such
advertising but have, at the same time, laid down rules concerning the
types of advertisements admitted. In these circumstances, the
Commission finds that the provisions of Article 10 (1) (Art. 10-1)
should be interpreted as permitting the State, in granting licence, to
exclude, as in the present case, certain specified categories of
advertisements.
It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2), of the
Convention.

3. The Commission has finally examined the remainder of the applicant's
complaints which relate to the conduct of the general elections in the
United Kingdom in 1970.

However, after considering these complaints as a whole, the Commission
finds that they do not generally disclose any appearance of a violation
of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention.

It follows that the remainder of the application is as a whole also
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2)
(Art. 27-2), of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission DECLARES THIS APPLICATION
INADMISSIBLE