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Black Media Groups Argue They Should Run Tobacco Company Corrective Ads

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Two organizations representing black media outlets say tobacco company ads about the dangers of smoking, ordered by a federal judge, should run in their newspapers, and on their TV stations and websites.

The “corrective statements” will say the companies lied about the health effects of cigarettes. Earlier this month, tobacco companies and the federal government reached an agreement on the statements, which will disclose the health effects of smoking, including the fact that cigarettes kill an average of 1,200 people a day. Each tobacco company must publish a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of 35 newspapers, and on the papers’ websites. The ads also must air prime-time television spots on CBS, ABC or NBC five times a week for a year.

The Associated Press reports the National Newspaper Publishers Association and National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters filed a brief in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ahead of a Wednesday hearing on the case. They argue that the ads should run in their news outlets because the black community has been disproportionally targeted by tobacco companies and harmed by smoking.

The associations, which represent more than 120 publications and more than 200 radio and TV stations, said the list included in the judge’s order does not include media outlets in areas with very large black populations. The brief states these populations are “not only more susceptible to harm from tobacco usage, but were also intentionally and systematically targeted by (the tobacco companies) to be recipients of their illegal marketing campaigns.”

The tobacco companies said the request from the black media associations comes too late, because it has been more than seven years since the court ordered which newspapers and TV networks would be included in the order. The companies said they would consider the list of black media outlets if replacement newspapers are needed when the ads are set to run, the AP noted.

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