Malaysia sanctions cartoon about the cartoons
|I was going to say that YJCMTSU, but unfortunately the pattern is so clear we all could -- we just don't have to, it's happening in the real world|
Malaysia has reprimanded one of its biggest daily newspapers for printing a cartoon lampooning the global controversy over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.
The government's move has fanned a hot debate in this mainly Muslim country about where to draw the line between press freedom and respect of religion, because this time it involves a newspaper closely aligned with mainstream Muslim opinion.
The English-language New Straits Times had defended its right this week to publish the cartoon, which featured a street artist offering "caricatures of Muhammad while you wait."
But the government, a prominent voice in the Islamic world, felt it crossed the line and its internal security ministry had given the daily three days to explain itself, the New Straits Times said on its front page on Thursday.
"The ministry said the cartoon had breached the conditions of the newspaper's publishing permit," the paper said.
"It added that the sketch was inappropriate and could invite negative reactions in the country, especially among Muslims."
Malaysia, led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, an Islamic scholar, has banned the Danish newspaper cartoons at the heart of the row and has suspended the publishing licences of two newspapers for publishing some of them.
Muslims enraged by the cartoons have rampaged in several countries, killing Christians in Nigeria, destroying Western businesses in Pakistan and torching embassies in the Middle East. More than 50 people have been killed in the protests.
The offending cartoon published by the New Straits Times on Monday was one of the globally syndicated Non Sequitur series by Wiley Miller. In an editorial on Wednesday, the newspaper responded to complaints about the cartoon, saying the Prophet had not been depicted.
In the editorial, it asked rhetorically whether the complaints were politically motivated to cow the newspaper's editors. "When the truth gets reported, some get hurt. The powerful ones will seek to protect themselves with whatever means at their disposal," the editorial said without elaborating.
The controversy is the latest episode in a public spat between the newspaper and elements of the ruling party, which has objected to the New Straits Times' reporting on sensitive issues of race and religion and its criticism of government policy.
Posted by: lotp 2006-02-23