Friday, February 10, 2006

This is what all the fuss is about??

It's hard to believe that these 12 simple cartoons could cause so much trouble.
(Click on image to read Michelle's post containing the 12 individual cartoons)

Sadly, in an effort to quell the angry Muslim crowds, governments across the globe have decided to play into these extremists hands and begin to regulate what can and can be published by their privately owned papers, in some cases going so far as to have courts impose injunctions against their printing.

I'm almost embarrassed, though I have to admit not all that surprised, to see that trend occur even here, in Canada (h/t Rants from the Right Coast by way of Malkin).

This has to stop, now. No matter how distasteful you may find an article, editorial, cartoon or ad in a privately owned paper, no one should have the right to block those things from being printed. Sure you have the right to protest or write angry letters to the editors but making any topic sacrosanct and declaring it out of bounds, especially one like religion (and at this moment in history, Islam in particular), destroys any chance for an truly well rounded news source.

And to all these big papers and news agencies who refuse to show the cartoon 'out of respect for Islam', I'm sorry but that excuse just doesn't cut it. When a story this big, with such wide ranging affects occurs, you can not just skip over the crux of the conflict 'out of respect' for anyone or anything. When is the last time you've ever heard that type of language from real journalists. If you are afraid of having yourself or your field journalists targeting by Islamic extremists that's fine, just say so, but to try and hide under the cover of 'respect' is just cowardly to the nth degree. The real reasons behind such decisions is blatently obvious when, as in the case of the NYT just yesterday, these same papers have no problem running (or in this case re-running) images that would be knowingly offensive to millions of Christians (and in in the NYT case especially offensive to Catholics). But of course when is the last time you saw the radical right wing of any Christian group behead someone for offending them. Sure they can be extremely annoying, but rarely deadly. In most cases the greatest complaint would be the number of times you are forced to listen to 100 off key voices sing "Amazing Grace".

Now that doesn't mean you can't show some restraint. You do not need to run the cartoons in question every day (i.e. the NYT and the Abu Ghraib story) but to truly inform your readers you must at least run the pictures once. So far few major papers, anywhere, have had the courage to even do that much.

And don't forget to get drunk on Carlsberg this weekend. Don't worry, it's for a good cause.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that your call for private papers to have the freedom to print what they want contains one caveat-'they MUST print at least one' of these cartoons.

Perhaps logic isn't your forte, but clearly freedom of speech or the press includes their right to completely ignore you and to pass on what are completely stupid looking pictures that would only find a spot in college newspapers if there weren't a convenient religious group available to sensationalize it.

In case you haven't noticed, there are a good percentage of canadian papers that don't even HAVE editorial cartoons, so the idea that they MUST show these cartoons is completely hypocritical.

Newspapers were boycotted and threatened, and three cinemas burned during protests against "Monty Pythons Life of Brian", which didn't even make fun of Jesus (he had a ten second cameo at the beginning).

Protests were even worse during Scorcese's "Last Temptation of Christ". Here in Canada of course we can remember an artist's piece called "piss christ", which had an upside down crucifix with a urine soaked jesus on it. Yet far from telling papers they MUST print it, the artist and his piece were run out of the country, with virtually no analysis of the social statement of the piece.

When pictures became available of dead americans being flown home this created a controversy and immediately the US state department went to work and made ALL portrayals of american wounded or deceased illegal.

The point is, YOU may find nothing wrong with the cartoons, but then again, Iraqi's saw nothing wrong with seeing videos of dead american soldiers.

It has NOTHING to do with freedom of speech, as you said yourself-they are refusing their freedom of speech by refusing to say what SOME people want them to say or print? That's just a little bit of the colour wacky.

February 13, 2006 10:15 p.m.  
Blogger Bic said...

I only stated that to truly inform your readers/viewers about what is behind this worldwide revolt by extremist Muslims you need to show what is supposedly at the root, the cartoons. They would not be run as editorial cartoons but as part of a valid news story.

If the papers don't want to run stories about the various riots and deaths then so be it (although that would be another problem), they get a pass on running the cartoons. But by talking about the results without actually showing the root cause you do a great disservice to your clientele.

Prior to these riots the cartoons were merely one papers way of speaking out against self imposed censorship by a large group of individuals due to fear of a specific religous group. An interesting story, sure, but not one necessarily worthy of international attention and therefore not an issue if other papers choose to ignore it. After the riots they became central to an international story.

Honestly, if you were to just hear this story without ever having seen the images would you picture cartoons as mild as the ones that were actually printed, of course not. As you even stated, most are pretty stupid looking which is exactly my point. Without actually seeing them many people are attacking the Danish newspaper because they believe the images are much worse then they are.

As I said, if they are afraid to print the pictures due to fear of reprisals, then they can go ahead and say that too. This 'out of respect' cop out so many news agencies have run with is just an easy excuse but as the NYT proved, in the very issue they used that printed that explaination, they have no such respect for other religons. What central issue did the dung Mary speak to that required a reprinting of a 9 year old picture?

As a news agency your job first and foremost is to inform the public as to the what is going on in the world, unfiltered by personal bias or outside influence. You can always allow respect for others to have some affect on how you present the news (no need to plaster the cartoons on the cover or run them everyday) but to completely ignore a major aspect of a story they way most MSM news agencies have done is an insult to journalism.

In this case they are allowing fear to affect their reporting.

February 14, 2006 8:59 a.m.  

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