[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Press Freedom or just bad taste?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Press Freedom or just bad taste?

Who knew global politics could be swayed by cartoons? We truly live in interesting times indeed.

Twelve images of a bomb-wearing, knife-wielding crazy Muhammad have sparked quite a controversial affair in the Middle East with protests, death threats, jihad chanting and flag burning.
Drawn by Swedish artists, published by the Danish Jyllands-Posten and subsequently reprinted in Norway, France and Germany, they defended their actions in the name of press freedom. The Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has refused to apologize again for the same reason, but is naturally worried about the boycotting of Danish products now happening. In fact the Danish paper had printed a 'semi apology' while maintaing its right to print whatever it likes- not good enough it seems.
Some media commentators applaud these as symbols against Islam and encourage others to not be afraid in the name of press freedom. As a result several artists have jumped on the bandwagon by creating their own illustrations of Mohammed. You can view some here
I see two forces at work here: Western media organisations finally venting out their disdain of Islam and hiding behind our age old tradition of press freedom. The others are Islamic regimes deliberatly creating anger to gain 'street credit' among fundamentalists. Scandinavians have always been the envy of Europe, hence their stubborness and refusal to apologise will not ease tensions in the Middle East. However a confederation of Danish businesses have asked their Prime Minister to officially apologise in order to lift the ban. So will the Danes stick by their politics at the expense of economic gain?
You can't blame the Muslims for being so pissed. Would Christians do the same if the Turkish Press did the same job on Jesus or God? They live their lives by religious principles and are naturally more sensitive to such depictions while we giggle at the artwork.
Tell ya one thing first the Swedes draw that poxy annoying Frog now this.
Now we wait if fundamentalists take their rage to the next level... looks like Jacques Chirac might get to use his A-bombs after all.