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MTA bans all political ads in response to "Kill all jews" billboard

Adland reported that Judge John Koeltl ruled that the MTA had to run an ad by The American Freedom Defense Initiative that read “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” as well as “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”. The MTA had other plans and announced on Wednesday that all political and religious ads are banned from the transit system. The new policy, which was effective immediately, was passed by the MTA board in a 9-2 vote.

“Hateful speech is not harmless speech. Only a fool or rogue would argue otherwise,” said Charles Moerdler, an MTA board member and Holocaust survivor who voted for the new policy. "Hateful speech, with its odious appeal to intolerance, is the incendiary that ignites violence and ultimately destroys free and democratic institutions."

Pamela Geller, the woman behind the ads that the MTA really don't want to run, had two minutes to defend her "viewpoint advertising" ads. She said: "You call my ads hateful?These are actual quotes. Why aren’t we talking about the ideology behind these quotes?"

Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union cited the role of subways and public transportation in a New Yorkers life to argue against the political ad ban.

"The New York City transit system is our public square. It is where virtually all of us pass through day in and day out. And because of that, it is a central part of our free speech in New York City. And given our commitment to free speech in this country, it is unconscionable that you are thinking of banning political ads from the transit system. This proposal is small-minded, it's intolerant, and it violates everything we stand for as a city and a country... If a hateful political ad runs on some buses for a few weeks and creates a controversy, we will all survive that. But if you ban all political ads in New York City, that will be a grevious blow to all of us and it will be an indeliable stain on the MTA and on the State of New York."

As it stands now, only paid commercial advertising, public-service announcements and government messages will be allowed on the MTA. There are currently no political ads up in the subway system.

I'm not sure government messages are always apolitical, but there you go.

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