TfL has previously carried campaigns by Pakistan Tourism, Emirates airline and Qatar Airways, but has put a hold on accepting any more

Transport for London (TfL), has suspended advertising from 11 countries with poor human rights records.

London’s Evening Standard newspaper revealed the suspension today. Countries impacted include Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. All of them have the death penalty for consensual gay sex.

The other countries suspended from advertising are Pakistan, Qatar, the UAE, Mauritania and Afghanistan. According to ILGA, these countries have ‘possible’ death penalties. For example, certain parts of these countries adhere to Sharia law and the death penalty may apply to Muslims only.

Examples of advertising campaigns from these countries that have featured on TfL include those from Pakistan Tourism, Emirates airline and Qatar Airways.

London’s iconic tube network and buses

TfL operates London’s tube and Overground network and buses, and also provides licences for black cab taxis, operates the Santander Cycle network, and oversees river buses, among other responsibilities.

An estimated 2million people use the tube daily, while approximately 31million daily journeys are made across the entire TfL network.

Last month, the network operator banned advertising from Brunei after the country introduced a sharia-law death penalty for gay sex.

Following that ban, Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell wrote to Mayor Sadiq Khan to ask about advertising from other countries. This prompted today’s announcement.


A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office said in a statement:

‘The Mayor is immensely proud that London is a city where you are free to be whoever you want to be, and love whoever you want to love.

‘TfL adverts are seen by millions of people every year, and given the global role London plays championing LGBT+ rights, the Mayor has asked that TfL review how it treats advertising and sponsorship from countries with abhorrent anti-LGBT+ laws.’

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