On Monday you published an excerpt from The New Zealand Herald‘s editorial:
But in this country, and most others where newspapers have
strutted a hairy chest on this issue, Muslims are a small minority of
the population and we are free to offend their religious sensitivities
if we want to. The only question to consider is, why would we want to?
We ask the question, would we insult Christians simply to prove that we
have a right to do so?
Actually, yes. In 1998, an art
exhibition at the national museum, Te Papa in Wellington, included a
statuette of the Virgin Mary sheathed in a condom.
The Christian community was horrified at the offence yet the Herald
ran a photo. Pity you didn’t also provide a link to their small,
follow-up editorial on Monday in which they tried to explain this
We have had a strong reaction from our readers, a
slight majority of the letters and emails running against our decision,
and a handful of subscription cancellations. While the principle of
freedom of speech underpinned the decision, it was primarily one of
informing our readers, hence the two cartoons were published in our
World section accompanying news and analysis articles.
It may be
appropriate for an online medium such as yours to provide a link to the
images as a way of discharging your “disclosure role,” as you call it,
but that would be a cop-out for The Press – we are essentially
a print medium, that’s what our readers buy and where they expect us to
make such judgments. Having said that, and at the risk of sounding
hypocritical myself, you will find on our website two things published
in the paper today (Wednesday) that may be of interest: the letters debate and the opinion of our most popular weekly columnist (and NZ’s best at the last national media awards), Joe Bennett.