The latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine includes an interview with Jytte Klausen about her new book on the Danish cartoons crisis and why Yale University Press chose to publish it without any illustrations. Index on Censorship positions itself as Britain's "leading organisation promoting free expression."
With more than a touch of irony, Index on Censorship also elected to publish the interview without including the cartoons, instead publishing the board's decision not to publish the cartoons, and the sole but vigorous dissent of a board member, Kenan Malik.
Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, describing Yale's original decision as "idiotic", pointed out that he has "written and lectured extensively about the incident and shown the cartoons without any negative reaction". And, as Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship, observed in an article in the Guardian earlier this year critical of Random House, pre-emptive censorship often creates a "self-fulfilling prophecy". In assuming that an "offensive" work will invite violence one both entrenches the idea that the work is offensive and helps create a culture that makes violence more likely.
Back in February 2006, I made the decision, in my capcity as editor and publisher of Annoy.com, to publish all of the Danish cartoons.
Along with the following explanation
"The following 12 images were published in Denmark's Jyllands Posten newspaper, which sparked the furor among Muslims globally. The reason they are being displayed here is not to provoke, despite this site's name, but to allow our users to make an informed evaluation themselves. For the same reasons, we published Nick Berg's beheading and James Kirkup's poem. After two federal court cases, one before the United States Supreme Court, Annoy.com's hard fought commitment to free speech – not an automatic guarantee, even in the West -- cost a lot in terms of time, determination and resources.
We are not oblivious to the fact that religious and cultural differences are far more complex than anything we could articulate in this small space, but our fundamental belief is this. Freedom of expression is not reserved for those wishing to express their religious beliefs, but also those who question them."
Author of The Jewel of Medina, Sherry Jones' response to Index on Censorship's decision on Redroom: No Laughing Matter: Index on Censorship Censors Itself
Index of Censorship magazine: See No Evil
Index on Censorship board member, Kenan Malik's, dissent.