Offensive outdoor ads

Published: Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2004 at 11:37 p.m.
One of the most important rights we share as Americans is the right to free speech. However, responsible media companies understand that this right must be balanced with respect for local communities.
The Florida Outdoor Advertising Association supports advertising that is free of statements, illustrations or implications that are offensive to good taste or public decency, or otherwise incompatible with individual community standards. The recent controversy over the billboard advertising of a white supremacist group in Sumter County doesn't meet this test.
Many years ago, Florida Outdoor Advertising Association members adopted a code of principles, which include observing high standards, showing respect for the environment, creating working relationships with local communities, providing effective and attractive products, and supporting worthy public causes.
Our industry is proud of the good work that we do and for the assistance and information that billboards provide. We know that Florida's tourism-based economy depends on billboards to help residents and visitors find their way to Florida businesses and we know that we contribute to our economy. Unfortunately the good work that we do and the service billboards provide is overshadowed when these types of controversies arise.
The billboard company who put up the sign in controversy is not a member of our association, and if it were, would be counseled to remove the sign out of respect for the local community. We sincerely hope that this company will do just that.

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