Atheist Bus Ads in Italy a No-Go for Now…

The atheist bus ads in Italy were promising but they’re not going up anytime soon.

IGPDecaux, an agency which sells advertising space on behalf of Genoa’s municipal transport company decided not to run the ads, the Union of Atheists, Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR), said.

The adds bearing the slogan: ‘The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him to,’ were to be posted on the back of public buses serving the port city, beginning on February 4.

It was not immediately clear why IGPDecaux decided not to run the ads.

If it wasn’t clear then, it’s a bit more clear now.

Apparently, the Italian atheists violated The Code of Advertising Practice (roughly translated below).

Article 10 — moral, civil, religious and human dignity

Advertising must not offend the moral, civic and religious citizens. It must respect human dignity in all its forms and expressions.

Article 46 — Appeals to the public

It is subject to the rules of this Code any message aimed at raising awareness on issues of social interest, including specific or calling directly or indirectly, the contribution of voluntary contributions of any kind, aimed at achieving social objectives.

These messages must include the identity of the author and recipient of the request, as well as the social objective to be achieved.

The promoters of such messages can freely express their views on the subject matter, but it must be clear that these are views of the same promoters and not facts.

I’m not sure how condemning non-believers to Hell “respects human dignity” either, so at least there’s an argument against religious ads, too.

If anyone can translate, the comments section here may have some interesting pieces of information.

(via Atheism Examiner)

  • ilaria longo

    I can translate a bit (not all comments though!).

    Many comments from disappointed atheists, several comments about 8×1000 campaign that you can find in Italy everywhere (8×1000 is Catholic Church founding system in Italy, which works in a very funny way).
    Some comments from catholic trolls: the UAAR news and forum has been invaded lately, one guy on the forum said “It was since the battle of Minas Morghul that we haven’t seen that many trolls” (lol).
    But also many are happy because this is like a free commercial for the UAAR and for atheist visibility in Italy – many tv news and newspapers have dedicated some space to this cause in the past few days.

    Btw, I think (and hope) they will go on and try perhaps with other cities…
    Even though I am not very positive about anything that concerns Italy – that’s also why I don’t live there anymore…

    Cheers from an italian expat and wannabe dutch.

  • http://drcox.spaces.live.com/ Sandro

    We’re a little disappointed about that…
    But some members of UAAR said that they are not going surrender that easily.
    They will go to court for this and if they will loose, will go further, in appeal court… and so on.
    … till European Court, where they (we) will win.

  • ilaria longo

    Sandro, I really hope so.
    I sent money as well for this campaign.
    I fully thrust in UAAR members determination, nevertheless you know as I do how court decisions in Italy don’t necessarily apply (Englaro case docet).Not even european regulations necessarily apply (Rete4 case docet). So forgive my lack of optimism. Which is not a good reason to let go on the bus campaign anyhow :)

  • Stephen P

    Which all goes to show how badly this sort of advertisement is needed. Even the mildest of critisms of religion gets banned if religious people can possibly manage it.

  • SarahH

    Which all goes to show how badly this sort of advertisement is needed. Even the mildest of critisms of religion gets banned if religious people can possibly manage it.

    Agreed. Pretty much any objection they raise applies equally to their religious signs and ads (I’m looking at you God billboards!) so they’ve certainly opened the door for this kind of thing. We’ve driven past their ads for years – now they need to exercise some restraint and maturity and let us have our turn. We’re paying for the space, and seriously – the wording is about as non-offensive as it gets.

  • Eliza

    I still like the “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone” billboards best. Encourages atheists & agnostics out of the closet, gives them a sense that there’s community (& hope, in a secular sense).

    And there is no basis for saying it’s inaccurate or offensive – it’s inarguably true.

  • Richard

    isnt this exactly what we want?

    wasnt the point of putting up those signs in Washington and Illinois to make the point that religion (and in this case, non-religion) does not belong on any publicly-run or owned building?

    isnt this a victory for us? yes, it is sad that we were rejected, but now we have, in Italy at least, a method of getting Pro-religous adverts off of public places.

    unless im missing something, of course.

  • Miko

    Yeah, saw that one coming. Italy has a terrible record on individual liberties.

  • https://www.google.com/reader/shared/03285257443185929989 Scotty B

    Link to translated page courtesy of Google Translate can be found here.


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