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MTA meeting to overhauls subway ad policies

September 27, 2012 3:29:44 AM PDT
After the uproar over anti-Muslim subway ads, the MTA meets Thursday to hammer out a new policy for accepting or banning advertisements at its facilities.

The MTA lost a court battle to ban the ads that called jihadists "savages."

MTA board member Fernando Ferrer says that if the board has a free speech problem, the answer to that should be even more free speech.

The ads - reading, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." - went up in 10 stations across Manhattan after a court victory by a conservative commentator who once headed a campaign against an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York initially refused to run blogger Pamela Geller's ad, saying it was "demeaning." But a federal judge ruled in July that it is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and publisher of a blog called Atlas Shrugs, has said she's not concerned that her ad could spark protests like the ones against the depiction of Muslims in the video "Innocence of Muslims." Violence linked to the movie has left dozens in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya.

The ad was plastered on San Francisco city buses in recent weeks, prompting some people to deface the ads and remove some of the words, including "Jihad," or holy war.

Geller said the subway ads cost about $6,000. The MTA said they will be up for a month.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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