Global campaigning organisation Avaaz's ad seen at OR Tambo International Airports International Arrivals Hall. (Shayne Robinson/AP Images for Avaaz)

Johannesburg - The High Court in Johannesburg ruled on Thursday that the Airports Company SA (Acsa) and Primedia acted unconstitutionally by censoring an advertising campaign at OR Tambo International Airport, said activist group Avaaz.

Avaaz took the companies to court after its posters depicting President Jacob Zuma watching over a lioness about to be shot with a handgun were removed from the airport in Kempton Park.

The caption on the posters read: “President Zuma can save her (the lioness's) life”.

The posters were part of a campaign to prevent trade in lion bones.

“This decision is a victory for citizens everywhere who now can begin, again, calling on President Zuma to end the brutal lion bone trade before lions are wiped out for good,” said Avaaz campaign director Emma Ruby-Sachs.

Avaaz said Acsa asked Primedia to remove the posters because it was concerned that the inclusion of Zuma's image and name in the poster would cause a “public relations nightmare”.

Acsa spokeswoman Unathi Batyashe-Fillis said the company would comment after studying the written judgment.