Crash of Flight 5191

TO OUR READERS

As a matter of policy, the Lexington Herald-Leader regularly publishes ads for businesses, services and products we believe are legal. The decision isn't based on whether we agree with them.

Three advertisements we published Wednesday from law firms promoting their services in the aftermath of the crash of Comair Flight 5191 were later judged to be in violation of Kentucky Bar Association regulations, under rules put forth by the Kentucky Supreme Court, and that raised questions about our policy and the decision to run them.

Until this year, the KBA reviewed advertisements prior to publication or broadcast, but they are now reviewed after the fact. The KBA made that change out of concern over prior restraint and freedom of speech -- the same issues this newspaper grappled with before deciding to publish the ads.

The Herald-Leader would not have carried the ads had they been found in violation in advance of publication -- they either would not have been submitted to us or not submitted in the form in which they appeared.

We will donate all of the revenues generated by the ads -- expected to be more than $16,000 -- to the Flight 5191 Care Fund at United Way of the Bluegrass. That will be added to our donation to the same fund of all revenues generated by obituaries placed by the families, which we announced Tuesday. That amount is unknown because funeral services are continuing.

We are sorry this issue has taken away any focus on the victims of Flight 5191, and we apologize for any additional pain it has caused their families.

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