Memo to U.S. Editors: Reprint Muhammad Cartoons
February 13, 2008
Irvine, CA--Taking a defiant stand in defense of freedom of speech, on Wednesday newspapers in Denmark reprinted one of the notorious satirical cartoons of Muhammad. "Now it is the turn of American newspapers and media outlets to show their solidarity with that ideal, and reprint all 12 of the original cartoons," said Elan Journo, a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.
On Feb. 13, fifteen newspapers in Denmark and one in Sweden reprinted the cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, drawn by Kurt Westergaard. The papers' admirable editorial decision was a response to news that Danish police had just arrested three men suspected of plotting to murder Westergaard for drawing that cartoon. Berlingske Tidende, a Danish paper, explained: "We are doing this to document what is at stake in this case, and to unambiguously back and support the freedom of speech we as a newspaper will always defend."
"Freedom of speech is the right to express one's ideas--in books, newspapers, drawings, speeches, films--without fear of retribution, even if others disagree with you, even if they are repulsed. This right leaves people free to dissent and free to advocate for their own ideas. This includes the freedom to challenge, criticize, satirize, denounce all religions and all political viewpoints," said Mr. Journo.
"Newspapers in Denmark grasp that nothing should be allowed to override freedom of speech. Their refusal to bow down in the face of murder plots should be a wake-up call to editors in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.' Few U.S. newspapers--and none of the leading ones--dared to stick their necks out, let alone raise their heads, during the cartoons crisis two years ago. U.S. media outlets, who claim to cherish freedom of speech, should realize the need to uphold it as a principle without exceptions."
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In 2006 the Ayn Rand Institute helped organize public "unveilings" of the cartoons and panel discussions on the significance of the controversy at NYU, USC and UCLA, among other campuses.
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Video presentation (2 min.)