A Johannesburg High Court has been asked by Boycott Divestment and Sanctions SA (BDS), a pro-Palestinian pressure group, to declare the removal of its anti-Israel billboard unlawful and unconstitutional, IOL News reported Sunday.
An ad company named Continental Outdoor Media removed one of BDS’s billboards in Johannesburg. The billboard, according to BDS, stated facts on the plight of the Palestinians.
BDS claims that COM infringed on its right to freedom of expression.
In papers filed at the Johannesburg High Court, BDS says its campaign was intended to draw attention and public support to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and the billboards explains “the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands”.
BDS commissioned the billboards from Sweetworks Advertising Agency in Johannesburg last year.
COM said the billboards broke City by-laws on prohibited outdoor advertising, because they were “indecent or suggestive of indecency, prejudicial to public morals, or insensitive to the public or any portion thereof or to any religious or cultural group.”
COM also said the advertisement broke some of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) codes and the lease agreement between the company and BDS SA.
BDS put up seven of the 12 Palestine solidarity billboards last year and only one was contracted to Continental Outdoor Media.
The other six hired out through other advertising companies still remain, according to BDS.
BDS SA’s Muhammed Desai said they had served their papers on Continental Outdoor Media this week. At its Mangaung conference in December, the African National Congress, South Africa governing party, endorsed the Palestinian BDS campaign.