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Sunday, February 12, 2006

More on those cartoons

This morning's Wales on Sunday reports that the editor of the Welsh student newspaper, which printed one of the controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed has apologised. Tom Wellington is quoted as saying that: "The cartoon was not reproduced as part of some frivolous defence of freedom of speech but was a genuine mistake on our part which arose from a desire to give context to a small and balanced world news piece reporting the developing international situation surrounding the cartoons."

Although I would take issue with the idea that any defence of freedom of speech can be frivolous, I understand totally the pressures that are on Mr. Wellington to issue this apology. He has been suspended from college and as far as he is concerned his whole career is at stake. The fault lies with those who have put him in this position.

What I do not understand and will not defend are the quotes from Liberal Democrat MP, Sarah Teather, in the same article. She is quoted as describing the cartoons as "a juvenile posturing execise", but then goes on to say: "Nothing was done to further the cause of liberal values or freedom of speech - the publication of the cartoons was just plain racist."

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing racist about these cartoons. They may be poorly drawn, unfunny and offend religious sensibilities but they do not single out any race for criticism. Indeed, given the reaction against them it would be an afront to freedom of speech and liberal values if newspapers did not republish them. This sort of posturing by a senior Liberal Democrat MP does no good to our cause and certainly does not help us in opposing the more illiberal measures in the Glorification of Terrorism Bill.
Well said, Peter.

Have you seen Sullivan's post:

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