The nation’s largest mass transit system banned all political advertising on its subways and buses Wednesday after a judge ruled that a pro-Israel group was allowed to display an advertisement containing the phrase “Hamas Killing Jews” on New York City buses.
The resolution passed at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board meeting, prompting indignation from members of the board and the public who accused the agency of blocking New Yorkers’ first amendment rights.
“The New York City transit system is our public square,” argued Christopher Dunn, who works for the New York Civil Liberties Union. “It is the place that virtually all of us pass through day in and day out. And because of that, it is a central part of our speech in New York City.”
The cash-strapped agency says such advertising only accounts for less than $1 million of its annual advertising revenue of $138 million.