Wednesday, 29 September 2010

US cartoon strip rejected for even mentioning Muhammad

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Via the MediaWatchWatch blog, we learn of a bizarre case of self-censorship in the US, in which "upwards of 20" newspapers rejected an edition of Wiley Miller's popular Non Sequitur cartoon strip on the grounds that it depicted "a lazy, sunny park scene with the caption, “Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… ‘Where’s Muhammad?’"

An amusing satire on the widespread fear of publishing anything that comes close to depicting the Prophet Muhammad, don't you think? Sadly, satire appears to be dying, as editors go one step further by displaying a fear of publishing anything that comes close to satirising the widespread fear of publishing anything that comes close to depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Speaking to the Daily Cartoonist, Miller said “the irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.”

It's the latest example of Muhammad-related censorship in the US, with TV network Comedy Central coming under criticism earlier this year for censoring an episode of South Park which hinted at showing a depiction of Muhammad, without actually doing so. That incident prompted cartoonist Molly Norris to draw a cartoon calling for an "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" on 20 May this year. When this led to an internet campaign to actually go ahead with the day, which led to Facebook being blocked in Pakistan, Norris distanced herself, saying she hadn't actually intended for the day to go ahead: "I, the cartoonist, NEVER launched a draw Mohammed day. It is, in this FICTIONAL poster sponsored by this FICTIONAL GROUP". Nevertheless, Norris has received death threats, and has this month gone into hiding with the help of the FBI.
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