Saturday, February 04, 2006

Censorship - How far is too far?

Since the 12 cartoons were printed we have seen hysteria from certain Muslim circles. While we need a balance in society of respect and tolerance, we also need to value the freedom of choice and right to express ourselves.
On one hand I can see why pictures depicting religious leaders in an unflattering light could be offensive I also find hackers attacking the website of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing the pictures as outrageous.

The Swiss daily "Le Temps" also printed a selection of the drawings.
In an editorial, Patricia Briel argued that "freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental achievements made by democratic societies, and the latter do not have to bow in the face of demands that endanger these hard-won principles.
"One can certainly regret that these caricatures have offended Muslims, because it is legitimate to want respect for religions. But it would be dangerous [if], in its name, one limits the liberties that we cherish."

Meanwhile the Norwegian Christian newspaper "Magazinet", which had printed the drawings in January.The Nordic country closed its offices in Gaza City after a dozen gunmen surrounded EU offices, threatening the lives of Norwegian, Danish, German and French citizens if the countries did not apologise.

Elsewhere in France, the owner of "France Soir" sacked its managing editor after the paper printed the 12 drawings in one of it's editions.

I don't see the need for the pictures to be endlessly republished around the world, yet I do object to the extreme reactions and the injection of "fear" into those who dare publish them.
While the Muslim world looks on with outrage, it sees no harm in publishing cartoons that may offend those that see them (as in the example seen here on such sites as ).

Double standards are indeed everywhere and freedom of choice is only a perception. We see what we want to see, while ignoring other items that don't suit our thinking.

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