Adbusters Wins Legal Victory

Our appeal was unanimously approved. We're one step closer to winning the right to buy airtime for citizen-produced, social marketing messages.

Press release issue by the Adbusters Media Foundation on Monday, April 6th, 2009:


Adbusters Media Foundation, the publisher of Adbusters magazine, has won an important appeal in its case against the CBC and Global Television Network. Adbusters initiated a landmark legal action against the media companies for refusing to sell airtime to Adbusters for its social marketing television campaigns.

In a unanimous decision released on Friday, April 3, the BC Court of Appeal overturned a previous BC Supreme Court ruling. Adbusters can now take its case against the media conglomerates to the BC Supreme Court.

Since 1989 Adbusters has attempted to purchase airtime from major commercial broadcasters in order to air its socially-minded public service spots. Routinely denied by network executives in Canada and the US, Adbusters is often left with little to no explanation as to why these citizen-produced messages are being censored. The case against the CBC and Global Television Network Inc. was brought about because Adbusters believes that the Canadian Charter grants every Canadian the right to access the public airwaves; to walk into their local TV stations and purchase 30-seconds of airtime under the same rules and conditions as advertising agencies do.

At issue in this groundbreaking case is the right of Canadian citizens to have (as stipulated by the Canadian Broadcasting Act) “a reasonable opportunity … to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern.”

“This is a great day for Adbusters,” says Kalle Lasn, editor and co-founder of the magazine. “After 20 years of legal struggle, the courts have finally given us permission to take on the media corporations and hold them up to public scrutiny.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with Kalle Lasn or Adbusters’ attorney, Mark Underhill, please contact:

MEDIA LIAISON: Lauren Bercovitch
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 604-736-9401
EMAIL: Lauren [at] Adbusters [dot] org


[1] To view a digital copy of the judgment, visit:

[2] Canadian Media facts:

Four corporations (CanWest, Quebecor, Torstar and Gesca) control almost three-quarters of the country’s daily newspaper circulation:

[3] Facts about Media Democracy:

More than 30,000 people have signed the Media Carta to voice their concerns about the way information is distributed in our society.

In the past few years a growing number of grassroots media activist groups have formed to express their dissatisfaction with the continued consolidation of Canada’s media: Democratic Media


Rejected TV Spots

Buy Nothing Day Pig

Big Mac

Network Rejections

Listen to the network rejections to get a taste of how the unelected and unaccountable gatekeepers of the public airwaves really operate.

CTV Rejection

CanWest Rejection