Your Voice | The DP should change its advertising policies
March 14, 2013, 9:41 pm·
I was extremely disturbed to see the xenophobic, propagandistic ad that was published in The Daily Pennsylvanian on Monday. It portrayed isolated instances of violence by Muslims acting outside of permissible Islamic doctrine as the norm, and by doing so, targeted and isolated a segment of the Penn community.
What is even more upsetting, however, is that this is not a new occurrence. As a junior, I have seen three similar but different ads published in the DP, all paid for by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Each year, there has been an outcry from members of the Penn community. Time and time again, we have demanded that the DP institute better advertising policies that ensure that such hateful ads, regardless of the group targeted, are not published. Needless to say, the DP has yet to take any steps towards doing so.
There are those who say that the DP does not have the power to object to advertisement submissions — that it only treats them as a revenue source and that it is not responsible for the content of ads it publishes. I and many others beg to differ. The DP, as a student newspaper, does have the option of refusing ads that target a group of Penn students, whom it is supposed to serve.
This year, the student newspapers at Harvard and several other universities refused to publish this same ad funded by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Of the university newspapers that did, at least three — Rutgers University, Tufts University and the University of Texas at Austin — apologized for running the ads after receiving negative feedback from the student body. They also announced that they will reconsider how they vet those who wish to advertise with them and the ads they submit, ensuring that such an incident is not repeated.
If other independent student newspapers have been able to take steps to better serve their communities, why can’t the DP?
Afnaan Moharram is a Wharton and College junior.