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February 07, 2006

FREE PRESS WALKOUT:

The editorial staff of the alternative weekly New York Press walked out today, en masse, after the paper's publishers backed down from printing the Danish cartoons that have become the center of a global free-speech fight.

Editor-in-Chief Harry Siegel emails, on behalf of the editorial staff:

New York Press, like so many other publications, has suborned its own professed principles. For all the talk of freedom of speech, only the New York Sun locally and two other papers nationally have mustered the minimal courage needed to print simple and not especially offensive editorial cartoons that have been used as a pretext for great and greatly menacing violence directed against journalists, cartoonists, humanitarian aid workers, diplomats and others who represent the basic values and obligations of Western civilization. Having been ordered at the 11th hour to pull the now-infamous Danish cartoons from an issue dedicated to them, the editorial group -- consisting of myself, managing editor Tim Marchman, arts editor Jonathan Leaf and one-man city hall bureau Azi Paybarah, chose instead to resign our positions.

This whole affair is certainly clarifying some things. (Via Andrew Sullivan).

UPDATE: Speaking of clarifying, Iraqi blogger Alaa writes:

I consider it offensive to show disrespect to Islamic religious symbols or any religious symbols of any kind, for that matter. However there is more to this than meets the eye. It seems to me quite suspicious that this storm is created at this particular time. To start with this is certainly not the first time that insults and affronts of this nature appear on print in western media in many countries and places. Such things do not deserve any kind of reaction other rather the contempt they deserve. Yet there are those who seem to seize upon such opportunities for motives that have nothing to do with the apparent religious sensitivities. Clearly there are those who wish to harm relations between the West in General and the Moslem World and more particularly we should not forget the contribution of Denmark to the allied effort in Iraq. Yes friends, I who consider my self a fervent Moslem, tell you that this is an artificial storm stirred by the same kind of people who are beheading, kidnapping and blowing up market places and day workers in Iraqi cities etc. Those in the West who give such people the ammunition and pretexts to launch such pitiful shows and stir up the emotions of gullible simple people, are their allies and facilitators.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: More on the walkout here.