We find ourselves a little bit conflicted here. That Greenpeace has been
spouting lies making incorrect statements does not surprise. But we are rather absolutist on this free speech thing. Absent incitement to violence and libel we're pretty sure that anyone should be allowed to say whatever they wish. And we're most certainly not happy with some organ of the State deciding what it is that people may or may not say. Thus the conflict:
A Greenpeace advert opposing fracking has been banned for claiming experts agreed that the process would not cut energy bills.
The national press ad said: "Fracking threatens our climate, our countryside and our water. Yet experts agree - it won't cut our energy bills."
The Labour peer Lord Lipsey, who said he understood there was a range of views on the subject, complained that the ad was misleading for claiming experts were in agreement.
Greenpeace said the claim was made in the context of a public debate on Government policy, and cited quotes from David Cameron, who has repeatedly backed fracking and claimed that it could bring down energy bills.
The organisation provided quotes from 22 people, groups or organisations supporting the view that fracking would not reduce energy prices.
That Greenpeace are wrong is something we've proven here and elsewhere before. However, there is that free speech issue. And as we say, we don't think that such speech should be banned.
Quite apart from anything else if people are banned from spouting obvious lies then how can we spot them when they're being a bit more disingenuous and spouting non-obvious lies?