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THE WAR ON THE FREE PRESS

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 9, 2006 10:35 PM

The Cartoon Jihadists are winning…

Malaysia
:

The Malaysian government shut down on Thursday a local newspaper after it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the official Bernama news agency said. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the internal security minister, ordered the indefinite shutdown of The Sarawak Tribune with immediate effect, Bernama said. “Internal Security Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today ordered Sarawak Tribune’s publication permit to be suspended indefinitely with immediate effect for reproducing controversial caricatures of Prophet Mohammed on February 4,” it said.

New: Malaysia bans possession of Prophet cartoons

Yemen:

Yemeni paper closed, editor wanted for publishing cartoons

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the Yemeni government’s decision to revoke the license of the private weekly Al-Hurriya Ahliya and issue an arrest warrant for the paper’s editor. The actions came after Al-Hurriya became the third Arab newspaper to publish controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The public prosecutor ordered the arrest late Monday of Abdulkarim Sabra, editor-in-chief and publisher of Al-Hurriya, for publishing the cartoons, according to news reports and CPJ sources. Sabra could not be reached for comment, but a human rights lawyer in Yemen told CPJ that Sabra could be charged under Article 103 of the Press and Publication Law.

Article 103 prohibits “printing, publishing, circulating or broadcasting … anything which prejudices the Islamic faith and its lofty principles or belittles religions or humanitarian creeds.” If convicted on that charge, Sabra could be imprisoned for up to one year.

Also Monday, the Ministry of Information ordered the closure of Al-Hurriya after it published four drawings on February 2 as part of its coverage of the protests spawned by the cartoons, the state-run Saba news agency reported. The ministry also removed all issues from newsstands.

South Africa (via VOA):

Court’s Outlawing Prophet Cartoons Seen as Threat to S. African Press Freedom

The South African Freedom of Expression Institute says a judgment by the Johannesburg High Court which prevents the publishing of cartoons found offensive by the Muslim community is a major threat to press freedom. The Freedom of Expression Institute argues that while the cartoon should not be published, that decision should be made by newspaper editors not the courts.

The Muslim Judicial Council applied to the High Court for an interdict to prevent two of South Africa’s largest media houses publishing the offensive cartoons. The cartoons, which originally appeared in a Danish newspaper, have angered Muslim communities around the globe, sparking riots and protests in many countries. The judge agreed with the Council’s argument that the cartoons impinged on the constitutional rights of the Muslim community to dignity.

However the Freedom of Expression Institute says the ruling threatens press freedom in the country. Naeem Jeenah, who heads the Institute’s program against censorship, argues that the right of editors to publish is fundamental to a strong democracy.

“We don’t believe that editorial decision making should be placed in the hands of the court we think that that sets a very bad precedent that in fact that editors should have that kind of decision making power but to have the court deciding what newspapers can or can’t publish before the newspapers even decide whether they are going to publish that we feel is quite problematic,” he commented.

…Meanwhile the Independent Media Group, one of the media houses involved in the case, has apologized for an article which appeared in the Cape Argus over the weekend. The article included quotes from Salman Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses, which was also considered highly offensive by many Muslims when it was released.

Ukraine: Editor-in-chief of popular Ukrainian newspaper “Today” apologizes before Muslims for publishing cartoons, satirizing Prophet Muhammad

Poland: Editor of Polish newspaper apologizes for reprinting cartoons

Canada (via Rants from the Right Coast; hat tip – Steve Janke):

The Cadre, UPEI’s student newspaper has published the twelve infamous editorial cartoons that criticized aspects of Islam.

At the request of president Wade MacLauchlan, university administrators have removed all 2,000 copies of the paper from campus.

The campus police also showed up at the office of Ray Keating, the paper’s editor, and asked that he hand over any copies in his possession, a request he refused to comply with. Read Keating’s editorial here.

The UPEI Student Union has withdrawn support of this week’s issue of The Cadre and has also stated that Weblogs@UPEI “are no longer accepting comments on the cartoon issue” CTV’s Steve Murphy noted during his broadcast tonight that it appears that they are now “censoring discussion about censorship”.

Sweden (via Instapundit): “Sweden is reportedly shutting down websites that show the dread Mohammed cartoons.”

U.N.’s Kofi Annan criticizes reprinting of controversial cartoons

European Union mulls media code after cartoon protests

The European Union may try to draw up a media code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the furore caused by the publication across Europe of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, an EU commissioner said today.

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show ”prudence” when covering religion.

”The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression,” he told the newspaper.

This is not “prudence.” This is submission. Repeat after me: I will not submit.

***

Update: At the Jyllands-Posten, Flemming Rose, the culture editor who commissioned the Muhammad cartoons, has been put on indefinite leave.

Jim Hoft has more on the EU’s submission.

And Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks out in defense of newspaper editors and publishers who’ve run the Muhammad cartoons:

ali.jpg

A Dutch politician and self-styled Muslim dissident urged Europeans to stand firm on Thursday in an international crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, saying it was “necessary and urgent” to criticise Islam. “Today I am here to defend the right to offend within the bounds of the law,” [Hirsi Ali] told a news conference organised by her publisher during a visit to Berlin…She heaped shame on editors and politicians who had argued it was insensitive or irresponsible to reproduce the Mohammad cartoons, including one showing him with a bomb in his turban.

Hirsi Ali praised Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen for rejecting demands from “tyrannical regimes” that he limit freedom of the press. European Union member states should compensate Danish companies for losses they had suffered from boycotts of their goods in the Middle East, she said. “Liberty does not come cheap. A few million euros is worth paying for the defence of free speech.”

… Hirsi Ali said she intended to press ahead with a sequel to “Submission” which should appear at the end of this year. Asked about the threats to her life, she said: “I have a reasonable fear, yes, I have protection. But I also will not allow myself to be put in a state of fear that will lead me to panic or to silence.”

More here.