Public outrage has been directed in Spain at an independent advertising for an offensive poster apparently advocating paedophilia. JCDecaux is facing official charges in court that a poster appeared in a display case it manages at a bus stop in Barcelona that called for the members of the public to provide nude childhood photographs of themselves. The bus stop in question was at the corner of Mallorca and Marina – two principal streets of the capital of Catalonia and just yards away from the city’s emblematic ‘Sagrada Familia’ cathedral designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudí.
The ad featured a semi-nude girl featured beneath the word ‘Libertad’ in large letters. The poster asked the public “send photos of when you were a child without clothes. For child porn free from abuse,” while ending with “Yes to 18+ paedophilia, No to abuse”.
Local authorities took action when they became aware of the ad on February 1, demanding that it be taken down. JCDecaux responded by removing the offending ad immediately. Alberto Carrillo, a JCDecaux official, claimed that the firm is investigating how the ad was placed inside the display case at the Barcelona display case. According to Carrillo, this is the first time this has happened to his firm. He added that his company will now place special keyed locks to prevent a re-occurrence. So far, the company has not determined any suspects in the case. Police may still file civil charges against the firm.
A long time observer of media in Spain and president of the European Marketing Institute, Clemente Ferrer Roselló, compared the political and cultural environment of Catalonia – perhaps the most liberal region in the Iberian Peninsula where nationalists continue to press for independence from Spain – to moral and political corruption in Southeast Asia. Ferrer told Spero News in an email, “Cambodia is one of two places in the world where corruption is at its most tyrannical. It is there that a child costs just 5 Euros and, therefore, it is not unusual for a farmer to give over a child for cash in order to secure the livelihood of the rest of the family”. He added, “Childhood traumas reverberate for the rest of one’s life and leave a lasting impression of melancholy in the soul”.
JCDecaux is based in France and has multi-million contracts for advertising in the transportation sector. It recently picked up a seven-year contract for Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.