CBS Rejects JINN’s attempt to buy a Bulletin Board Ad in San Francisco
Posted by sarahjinn on October 9, 2008
CBS Censors Human Rights Group, Rejects Bulletin Board Ad Critical of Chevron
(San Francisco, CA) Last week, human rights group Justice In Nigeria Now (JINN) attempted to buy two bulletin boards owned by CBS Outdoor critiquing Chevron Corporation’s human rights abuses in the oil producing regions of Nigeria. CBS Outdoor rejected the group’s advertisement on the grounds that the ad was “critical” and “negative.”
The ad submitted to CBS Outdoor contained the website ChevWrong.org and a parody of Chevron’s World of Chevron Cars Campaign, adding a military vehicle to the collection to depict Chevron’s role in paying the Nigerian military and transporting them to attack unarmed villagers. The ad reads: “There is nothing to love about Chevron fueling death in Nigeria,” playing on one of Chevron’s campaign slogans “Cars love Chevron with Techron” as seen on bulletin boards throughout the Bay Area. JINN contends that the public has a right to know about Chevron’s activities in Nigeria and in fact, Chevron’s links to the shooting of unarmed Nigerians is a matter of public record.
The upcoming lawsuit against Chevron – Bowoto v. Chevron -to be heard in U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco starting on Oct 27 has already addressed such attacks when the U.S District Court judge for the case, earlier this year, found evidence that’s Chevron’s personnel “were directly involved” in an attack on Chevron’s Parabe Platform in 1998 sufficient to allow the case to be heard by a jury. This incident involves Chevron paying, transporting and “closely supervising” the Nigerian military in a Chevron-leased helicopter who opened fire on unarmed villagers peacefully protesting the environmental problems caused by the company in their communities.
“The public has a right to know how this Bay Area-based company conducts business in Nigeria and elsewhere. Bulletin board ads are an effective form of conveying a message that reaches thousands of people each day. As a paying customer like any other with a factually true message, it is wrong of CBS to censor this ad,” stated JINN Coordinator, Sarah Dotlich.
San Francisco based Underground Advertising created the artwork for the ad. This is not the first time one of their clients has been rejected from displaying their ad on a bulletin board.
“When the only two choices are buying bulletin boards from CBS or Clear Channel, rejection is not
unexpected,” explained Charlie Cardillo, Creative Director for Underground Advertising. “These two companies have cornered the market, effectively shutting out public critique through this medium.”
“It becomes an issue of freedom of speech. We deserve the same rights as Chevron to display our factual message, this is clearly a form of censorship.” stated Dotlich.
Other groups have attempted to buy bulletin board ad space with a similar result. During the Republic National Convention, a group called Soldier Billboard Project entered into a contract with CBS Outdoor only to have their contract canceled a week before it was expected to run in St. Paul, MN. According to the New York Times
JINN is a San Francisco-based organization working in solidarity with communities in Nigeria and allies in the U.S. to hold multinational corporations accountable for their operations in Nigeria to act in a manner that respects human rights, protects and cleans up the environment, and enhances community livelihoods.