SEATTLE -- King County Metro Transit officials announced Thursday the decision to halt all new non-commercial ads, including two controversial campaigns claiming Israeli war crimes and Palestinian war crimes.
Citing possible bus service disruption, King County Executive Dow Constantine said the proposed campaigns caused security concerns.
"My job is to deliver essential services to the people of King County, including transit service," said Constantine. "I have consulted with federal and local law enforcement authorities who have expressed concern, in the context of this international debate, that our public transportation system could be vulnerable to disruption."
Last week, a group called the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign proposed a billboard ad to run on the side of 12 buses, reading "Israeli war crimes: Your tax dollars at work."
In response, a group called the David Horowitz Freedom Center proposed a similar billboard to run on 25 buses, reading "Palestinian war crimes: Your tax dollars at work."
According to Metro officials, non-commercial advertising will temporarily be added to the list of currently restricted ad campaigns, except for certain government ads. Non-commercial ads that had already been cleared with Metro prior to the halt will not be affected.
By the end of January, Executive Constantine said further work will be done to determine a sound policy that abides by First Amendment rights and protects Metro passenger safety.