The State has told the High Court that from now on, the Transport Ministry will enforce the freedom of advertising on buses and would stipulate that the condition of receiving a public transportation license be non-discrimination in advertising.
At the beginning of the year several Jerusalem residents noticed that women were slowly disappearing from ads throughout the city, especially bus ads.
The Yerushalmim movement for a pluralistic Jerusalem joined several of the city’s residents in petitioning the High Court of Justice against the exclusion of women from ads displayed on public buses traveling in the capital.
They then claimed that the advertising company refused to present the campaign over fears that public property would be damaged by extremist haredim.
In their petition they claimed that the phenomenon is a grave offence against human dignity and the principles of equality and freedom of expression in general and freedom of political expression in particular.
The petitioners also demanded that the finance minister stipulate that licenses only be given if the operator makes a commitment to avoid any activity that has any kind of gender based discrimination and that police use a strong hand in enforcing the law.
In response to the petition, the State explained that it agreed with the petitioners’ position and that the bus and ad companies “are not authorized to refuse to publish an ad because it features a woman.”
The State added that after consultations, the transportation commission decided to use his authority and include the following condition: “A license holder will not discriminate in the services it provides including in ads in and on buses on account of race, religion or religious group, nationality, origin, gender, sexual orientation, opinion, political affiliation or personal status.”
In light of the condition the State explained that there was no further need for the petition.
The groups who filed the petition said in response: “The State’s reaction brings the public space in Jerusalem and the entire country to its natural and proper place and proves that equality among the sexes must be seen and not just heard.
The State is beginning to understand that there is no room for women’s exclusion from the public sphere in any case and under no circumstances.”
Source: Ynet News