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September 30 named International Free Press day

I’m a day late on this one: To mark the fourth anniversary of the first printing of the Danish Mohammad cartoons, the International Free Press Society has named September 30th as International Free Press day.

In an era in which the act of speaking out in the Western world has become increasingly subject to the pressures of what we know as political correctness, this bold affirmation of free press rights by Danish journalists makes September 30 a banner day. In commemoration of their courage, then, the International Free Press Society declares September 30 to be International Free Press Day.

To mark the occasion, the International Free Press Society is presenting artist Kurt Westergaard on his first public tour in the USA, where he will be making appearances in New York City, Yale and Princeton. Since publishing his cartoon, the now-iconic Turban-bomb Mohammed image, Westergaard, 73, has required state security to protect him from violent retribution for violating the tenets of sharia in Denmark. Such threats have included an assassination plot uncovered by Danish police in February of last year. The day after the plot was uncovered, a number of Danish newspapers joined Jyllands-Posten in reprinting the Westergaard cartoon in solidarity with the cause of freedom of the press.

To further advance the cause of freedom of the press, the International Free Press Society takes the occasion of this first International Free Press Day to salute Kurt Westergaard, and to call, once again, for the repeal all blasphemy and hate speech laws that currently inhibit and restrict vital exchange and debate

Community Comments

#1 Mike Peterson
October/2/2009
@ 6:02 am

Just as the Dodgers looked for Jackie Robinson and the local NAACP waited until Rosa Parks made her stand, I think there is a need to get the right example before you declare a day based on it. I’m not convinced this is it.

My understanding is that the Danish paper that began it all was not simply a champion of free expression but somewhat hostile to Muslim immigration. While their publication of the cartoons was a stance in favor of free expression, it was also a poke in the eye at people who refused to be like them.

It doesn’t rise to the level of the ACLU defending the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, it’s still not the example I would select. (And I would defend the right of the neo-Nazis to march, just as I would defend the right of the Danish magazine to publish insulting, bigoted cartoons. “Just as” in the sense that I would hold my nose while doing it.)

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