Ads for arms manufacturers around Canberra airport have been criticised for their placement, with a community group calling for the ads to be taken down.
The group, called No Airport Arms Ads (NAAA), believe the ads are offensive and inappropriate for people coming into the country who may have been affected by these weapons, saying Canberra’s message instead should be ‘open arms, not lethal arms’.
According to the NAAA, there have been numerous ads from arms manufactures displayed around Canberra airport. The NAAA is launching a campaign on August 29 to have them removed.
Canberra Airport declined to comment.
Spokesperson for the group, Sue Wareham, who is an active member of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, told The Canberra Times it wasn’t about censorship.
“It could be pretty offensive if you’re a refugee or somebody who has been traumatised in a war zone, to be confronted with these ads,” she said.
“Weapons are in a totally different category from other commodities that are bought and sold, they cause untold human suffering and their promotion distracts us from more-peaceful means of addressing disputes. We regard it as inappropriate for one of the main gateways to the national capital to be having arms industry promotion in such prominent places.
“They give the wrong image of our city…we regard it as inappropriate to present Canberra in a way that looks like a military industrial hub.”
Author Joan Beaumnont, writing for The Canberra Times, questions why we would want newcomers to the county greeted by ads for weapons, saying the ads are “inappropriate”.
“Why then should our airport carry advertising implying that Canberra is a weapons industry hub? Of course Defence is part of Canberra. The institutions of national security and ‘border protection’ are many and increasingly prominent. But what about other, more attractive images – the city’s extraordinarily rich offerings of national political and cultural institutions and its superb natural environment? Are these not more representative of the national capital?”