SEPTA Sued for Banning Ads About Housing Discrimination

By Andrea Sears
PublicNewsService.org

PHILADELPHIA—Banning ads about controversial issues is a violation of free-speech rights – that’s the claim of a lawsuit filed against the nation’s sixth largest public transit system.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has compiled data showing racial disparities in home mortgage lending in 61 American cities, including Philadelphia. But when it sought to highlight the results with an ad campaign, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority refused to display the ads on its trains and busses.

Molly Tack-Hooper, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, says SEPTA’s policies banning ads on political and controversial social issues turn the First Amendment on its head.

Listen to a broadcast report about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

About the Author

Steve Lubetkin
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for StateBroadcastNews.com. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. Since 2015 he has been the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com. His video work for GlobeSt.com has been honored by the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at steve@statebroadcastnews.com.