Buy Nothing Day ad nixed in FrancePARIS, Nov 25 (AFP) - Thursday, November 25
French broadcasters, taking their lead from the US networks, have refused to carry a 30-second advertisement lambasting the alleged evils of the consumer culture ahead of next week's high-profile WTO meeting in Seattle.
The ad had been timed to announce Friday's Buy Nothing Day, the annual campaign by the US anti-consumerist group Adbusters which will ask consumers in around 15 countries to refrain from shopping for 24 hours.
The state broadcaster France Television reversed an earlier decision to run the advertisement following a ruling by France's advertising watchdog that the spot did not meet the public-interest criteria appropriate for non-commercial advertising on television.
The decision was denounced as censorship by Resistance to the Aggression of Publicity (RAP), a French group largely inspired by Adbusters.
The spot had been due to run Thursday, just before midnight.
The US network channels, ABC, CBS and NBC, have refused to run the Adbusters announcement of Buy Nothing Day every year since the event was set up in 1992, claiming that an embargo on shopping would threaten "the current economic policy of the United States."
However the all-news channel CNN has aired the spot on its Headline News programme every year since 1996.
Originated by the Media Foundation, an anti-consumerist organisation based in Vancouver, Canada, Adbusters will be prominent among the many ecology groups seeking to make an impact at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting opening next Tuesday.
Adbusters has targeted the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, traditionally the last Thursday in November, for its challenge to the consumerist ethic, and militants will be turning out in shopping malls across the United States, Canada and several European countries to urge people to curb the shopping impulse.
The day after Thanksgiving is America's busiest shopping day of the year, and Media Foundation sees its campaign as a nuch-needed challenge to the global economy, which they say is rapidly using up the world's resources.
On its website (http://www.adbusters.org/) the group claims that one million people joined the one-day shopping boycott last year.
For Seattle, where it plans to broadcast a series of "subvertisements" on local radio and television, Adbusters is running a second campaign aimed at forcing ministers to answer what it calls "the big question", which is: "Is economic progress killing the planet?"