The Advertising Code Committee has received “a lot” of complaints about the billboards showing digital posters with photos of people kidnapped by Hamas. The signs were placed along twenty highways for a week on the initiative of the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI). It worked together with other Jewish organizations.
The committee cannot say exactly how many complaints have been received. No announcements are made about the content either. The aim of the action was to “draw the attention of passers-by to the kidnappings” and make them aware of “the necessity of Israel’s operation in Gaza”, the CIDI said earlier.
Because many of the complaints are similar, three complaints that are “exemplary” will be submitted to the committee, a spokesperson said. “There is a high degree of freedom of expression, but advertising expressions must be tested against the advertising code and also against the rules of good taste and decency.”
The committee’s decision may lead to non-binding advice being given to the advertiser to adjust the advertising message. If the advertiser does not do this, the committee will send the recommendation to the media.
The CIDI stated in an initial response that they “acted in good faith” in this campaign. “We are reporting the fact that people have been kidnapped. That may be uncomfortable for some people, but it remains a fact,” said Naomi Mestrum, director of CIDI. In addition to the billboards, the organization also drew attention to the fate of the hostages with an advertisement in De Telegraaf.
The Advertising Code Committee cannot yet say whether any complaints had been received about a campaign in which attention is drawn to the fate of Palestinian children on billboards. The campaign started last Saturday and includes billboards with digital posters along the A4, A58 and A16 highways. The initiator says that a campaign with posters in bus shelters in major cities may follow later.