SEPTA has created a broad ban on unacceptable advertising, following a federal court ruling earlier this year that required the transit agency to accept anti-Islamic bus ads featuring Adolf Hitler.

The new policy, expected to be approved by the SEPTA board on Thursday, will prohibit political ads or any ad that expresses an opinion about political, economic, religious, historical, or social issues, or disparages any person or group, or that could incite lawless action, or prompt a lawsuit for defamation or invasion of privacy.

Also, no ads may promote the sale of tobacco or guns.

The policy also will require an advertiser to agree to pay the cost of any legal challenge or any physical damage caused by reactions to an ad.

The policy comes after U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg ruled March 11 that because SEPTA had accepted other political and controversial ads on public issues, it could not refuse to accept the Hitler ad.

The controversial ad, which stated, "Islamic Jew-Hatred: It's in the Quran," was paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization underwritten by a Jewish activist, Pamela Geller, an outspoken critic of Islam.

The ad featured a photograph of a 1941 meeting between Hitler and Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist who made radio broadcasts supporting the Nazis.

SEPTA had initially refused to accept the ads, but after Goldberg's ruling, the transit agency put the ads on 84 buses for the month of April, receiving $30,000.

pnussbaum@phillynews.com

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