Thursday, May 25, 2006

Once Again.

With The DaVinci Code coming out censorship is again being talked about. Of course, there is no such debate going on here in the USA we are settled on that. No, I am certainly not going to go out and buy tickets for that movie but I will not participate in calls for it to banned or any such thing.

However, DJB at Philippine Commentary is having a discussion about the censorship and shutdown of The DaVinci Code. Most notably he takes on a former employer The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) a paper I have linked to here at Blogger Beer.

Anyway the upshot is the PDI has come out in opposition to the move to ban/censor The DaVinci Code (as it should), but when it came to the Mohd Cartoons the PDI instead essentially condemned the cartoons as a sophomoric provocation.

The PDI then states:
Islam and Christianity both pay the highest tribute to martyrs. Even secular societies consider martyrdom possible in defense of country or ideology. The question is whether any kind of creed, including secularism as understood in the West, calls for provocations that make it inevitable for people to become martyrs, whether unintentionally or by design. While we do not counsel self-censorship arising out of fear, we do believe that a proper recognition of the central role faith plays in the lives of millions would go far to avoid undue provocation against people who take their religion seriously. After all, since World War II, the world has rallied to defend the Four Freedoms: of speech and expression; of every person to worship God in his own way; from want; and from fear. They all go hand in hand, and to raise one over the other diminishes them all.
Source: Philippine Commentary - The Da Vinci Code, the Mohammed Cartoons, and Being Consistent
First off, the Mohd were not a sophomoric stunt as many suppose. A children's book author wanted to write a book for children on Islam, the book was to be educational and not insulting or demeaning. Well, the author had a hard time finding someone to illustrate and so the Danish Newspaper had the cartoon contest. When the cartoon were first published a very minor controversy was raised (one I noted) and then it all died down. It wasn't until Islamic provocateurs added a couple of truly vile cartoons on their own and went on tour to whip up a furor did the controversy as most people know arise. The original publication was designed to test the state on freedom of speech in Denmark, the West, and the world. The claim the cartoons were some sophomoric stunt is not supported by the events.

The reason the PDI takes the principled stand now as opposed to in the Mohd Cartoon case is because it takes little courage in the case of The DaVinci Code.