“Sorry you were offended” Danish paper concedes to Saudi lawyers
In a move condemned as “crazy” and “disgraceful” by politicians and journalists, the Danish newspaper Politiken has issued an apology to a team of Saudi lawyers acting on behalf of “94,923 of the Prophet mohammed’s descendants”.
Last August, the Jeddah based law firm AZ Yamani approached the eleven Danish newspapers which republished the Turbomb cartoon after an attempt on Westergaard’s life.
What they demanded was that apologies be printed in Danish, English, Arabic and French, that the newspapers undertake never to publish the cartoon again, and – most amusingly – that the cartoons be removed from the internet in perpetuity.
What they got from Politiken was a “sorry you were offended” apology. The newspaper did not apologise for printing the cartoon, nor did it give up its right to publish the cartoon again.
However, judging from the reactions of other editors, it is highly unlikely that the complainers will get that much from any other newspaper. Berlingske Tidende, Jyllands-Posten and Kristeligt Dagblad have all said they have no interest in a settlement which includes an apology. Jørn Mikkelsen, Editor-in-Chief the Jyllands-Posten, says:
Politiken has betrayed the battle for freedom of speech. They’ve given up and bowed to threats. That is, of course, disgraceful.
Danish politicians are also angry. Social Democratic Leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt:
It’s crazy. The media carries offensive material every day. That is what freedom of speech is about.
Socialist People’s Party Leader Villy Søvndal:
freedom of speech is not up for negotiation
The Danish People’s Party Leader Pia Kjærsgaard:
It is deeply, deeply embarrassing that Tøger Seidenfaden has sold out of Denmark’s and the West’s freedom of speech. I cannot distance myself enough from this total sell-out to this doctrine.
It is good to see such widespread condemnation, even if the Politiken apology is such a non-event. It shows they care.
(Hat tip Islam in Europe)