In what is hardly a surprising move, Italian atheists have lost a bid to run ‘no God’ advertisements on city buses after opposition by conservative political parties.

The ad’s catch line, ‘The bad news is that God doesn’t exist. The good news is that you don’t need him’, were to have appeared on buses in Genoa, home to the Catholic cardinal who is head of the Italian Bishops Conference.

According to Giorgio Villella of The Italian Union of Atheists and Rationalist Agnostics (UAAR), the ad was ready but its publicity agency changed its mind and said the ad could not run it because it violated an ethics in advertising code.

“It’s strange that in a country where ads depicting near-naked women wearing skimpy lingerie are permitted on buses, but we can’t run ads about atheism,” says Villella.

The UAAR’s lawyers are considering filing an appeal to the local courts to overturn the decision and the group are going to try and run the ads other Italian cities.

This is yet another development in what has been a controversial few months for atheist groups world-wide, with organisations in the UK and in Australia facing opposition to their own campaigns.