Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Clear Channel Bans Peace Billboard

CNN - Anti-war group Project Billboard has threatened to file a lawsuit against Clear Channel Communications, alleging that the media company has blocked a billboard opposing the Iraq war from being mounted in Times Square, according to the New York Times. The billboard -- an image of a red, white and blue bomb with the words "Democracy is Best Taught by Example, Not by War" -- was supposed to go up next month to coincide with the G.O.P convention in New York City, the report said. The group is accusing Clear Channel with breach of contract after it said a leasing agreement was reached last December to erect the sign next month on space the company owns on the Marriott Marquis hotel at Broadway and 45th Street, the Times reported. Project Billboard spokesman Howard Wolfson was quoted as saying that Clear Channel rejected the design that was submitted earlier this month. "I guess we can have a war, but we can't talk about it," Wolfson told the Times. The group said its lawsuit is expected to be filed in Manhattan federal court. The Times noted that this is not the first time that Clear Channel, one of the nation's largest owners of radio stations, has found itself in the middle of a free speech and censorship debate. The company's critics point out that Clear Channel country music stations boycotted songs of the Dixie Chicks last year after the group's lead singer told fans she was "ashamed" that President Bush is from Texas.

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