Amnesty International adverts banned in Edinburgh and Glasgow

New montage amnesty

(c) Amnesty International

​Network Rail faces criticism for pulling Amnesty International adverts at Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central train stations

Paul Cardwell's photo

16th November 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Adverts urging people in Scotland to sign up to a campaign to save the Human Rights Act have been banned by Network Rail for being too "political".

Amnesty International had planned to display adverts in Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central yesterday (Tuesday) but they were pulled by the state owned authority responsible for the UK’s railway network at the last minute.

The campaign features posters highlighting those who have been helped by the Human Rights Act including Scottish born computer hacker Gary McKinnon who faced extradition to the USA after hacking into military systems looking for a cover-up of UFO activity.

The adverts also said the act had helped the families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster, the Northern Ireland peace process, Frank and Janet Robinson whose son died in Stafford Hospital after a series of blunders and Celia Peachey who campaigned to expose errors made by the police after her mum was murdered.

We simply don’t accept that basic human rights are ever a political issue

At the bottom the strapline read: “It works. Save the act. www.savetheact.uk”.

The campaign was launched on the back of the Tory Westminster government committing to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with what is widely considered as a watered down UK bill of rights.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said the adverts were pulled at the last minute as they only saw them the day before they were due to go live.

“On inspection, they don’t meet our rules on ‘political’ advertising,” she said.

“We aim to be fair and even-handed when deciding which adverts to accept in our stations and have a set of rules in place to ensure all advertising is treated equally.

“The advertisement directs people to sign an online petition, and it is for this reason we deemed it political and against our rules.”

Responding to Network Rail’s decision, Kate Allen, Amnesty’s UK director, said the decision was unacceptable.

“We’re very disappointed by Network Rail’s decision to pull these adverts at the eleventh hour. We simply don’t accept that basic human rights are ever a political issue,” she said.

“The irony is that human rights cross party-political lines and so do failures, cover-ups and abuses.

“Successive governments managed to let down the Hillsborough families, and their story demonstrates precisely why we need enduring human rights protections which aren’t redrafted by the government of the day, on a political whim.

“It’s vital to safeguard basic rights in these politically volatile times as constant protections relied on by ordinary people.”

Rail stations in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London’s Waterloo and Victoria stations were also meant to feature the adverts but those were also pulled.

Transport for London (TfL) carried the adverts in Westminster underground station as planned, and adverts ran in print and online extensively.

 An ad van also done laps of Westminster and across London and JCDecaux, the agency who had booked the space, moved the adverts to key roadside billboards, airports and bus shelters.