By Louise Kinross
In an extraordinary decision, the Council of State in France has upheld the decision of the country's TV regulator to prevent this video, whose message is that children with Down syndrome can be happy, from being seen on French TV.
The ad, launched by Italy's CoorDown and Satchi & Satchi for World Down Syndrome Day in 2014, has been viewed on Youtube over 7 million times. It won six awards at the 2014 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The idea for the ad came when CoorDown received an e-mail from an expectant mother whose child had been diagnosed with Down syndrome: "I'm scared," she wrote. "What kind of life will my child have?"
The ad, called Dear Future Mom, is a response from a number of children and teens with Down syndrome. "Your child can be happy" is the message. "He'll be able to hug you" says one young man. "He'll be able to go to school" says another young woman, "and work and earn his money" say two girls.
In June of 2014, the French TV regulator said it was "likely to be controversial" and was not "a message of general interest." Earlier that year several French channels had aired an excerpt free of charge at the request of Down syndrome associations.
According to Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, a French Down syndrome research and advocacy group, the original decision to censor the ad came after complaints from two women who had terminated pregnancies due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. They issued a news release last week suggesting the Council of State wanted to hide pictures of children with Down syndrome who look happy.
The TV regulator considered the ad's message likely to "disturb the consciences of women who, in accordance with the law," had chosen to have abortions, this article in Le Monde reports.
Jérôme Lejeune had asked the Council of State to intervene on the regulator's ban. It says it will bring the matter to the European Court of Human Rights and argue that people with Down syndrome have a right to express their happiness without censorship.