Thursday, February 09, 2006

If You Can't Beat 'Em...Appease 'Em!!

I have avoided blogging about the Islam-cartoon issue as there were already so many people commenting on it, and I didn't really have anything new to add. Until today.

The EU is considering creating a media code of conduct that would "urge the media to respect all religious sensibilities." EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini claims that by adopting the code, the media will "give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free speech. We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."

I find the EU's proposal shameful. Why does the European press need to acknowledge that they are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free speech? Have the rioting Muslims been made aware of the consequences of burning embassies, killing priests, or even of exercising the right of free speech in threatening to behead those with whom they disagree? Whether or not the cartoons should have been run is a difficult question. But to ask the press to self-regulate in order to not offend groups of people willing to raze, threaten, and kill is another entirely. And here, the EU is giving the wrong answer. Were the cartoons offensive? Probably. But to allow the threats and violence of these lunatics to dictate how and what should be printed in disgraceful.

I was not aware that cheese-eating surrender monkeys lived in Italy (Frattini is a former Italian foreign minister) as well as in France.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan points out that the offending cartoons were printed on the front page of an Egyptian newspaper last October, and no riots ensued. As he writes, "this whole affair is a contrived, manufactured attempt by extremist Muslims to move the goal-posts on Western freedom. They're saying: we determine what you can and cannot print; and there's a difference between what Muslims can print and what infidels can print. And, so far, much of the West has gone along. In this, well-meaning American editors have been played for fools and cowards."


smilerz said...

Andrew is off a little in his analysis, the issue is not that the powers that be in the ME want to control freedoms in the west - they want to stir up anti-western sentiments amongst their populous - the cartoons were simply an easy way to do it.

If it wasn't this issue it would be something else. Appeasing them merely moves the line - it doesn't eliminate it.

Antiquated Tory said...

At the same time, it doesn't cost them anything. There's nothing enforceable in this EU 'statement' or 'voluntary guideline' or whatever the Heck it is--it's just a gesture to try and calm things down.
I don't think it will work, but that's another question.

Antiquated Tory said...

A voluntary code would urge the media to respect all religious sensibilities but would not offer privileged status to any one faith, [Fellini] said.
Which seems to me to be fair enough.

Seth Weinberger said...


It's not so much the code itself (although what's the point of a non-binding code?) but rather the timimg that is objectionable. It is nothing more than a kow-towing capitulation to the rioting barbarians.

t'su said...

The code would set an awful precedent.