The Times gets it wrong

Dalya Alberge, arts correspondent for The Times, filed a story on Thursday in which it was claimed that a recently-closed production of Marlowe‘s Tamburlaine the Great was censored to avoid upsetting Muslims. It wasn’t true.

Although Alberge had contacted the director, David Farr, to confirm the story – and he had denied it – they still published it. Farr subsequently wrote a robust defence of his production in The Guardian the following day, in which he said it was “complete nonsense” to suggest that he was trying to appease Islamic opinion.

This non-story is at least the second of its kind to appear in the national press in a month. The Express piggy bank scandal was the other.

There is no shortage of genuine self-censorship stories in the news – the Bedfordshire police cartoon and the Tate gallery, for example. Nor is there a shortage of over-sensitive Muslims looking for things to be offended by.

The Times should have known better.

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