This is from the official website for the university. I originally wrote about the issue in another post:

UPEI has issued the following statement regarding the recent decision of The Cadre:

“The UPEI administration has ordered copies of the student newspaper, The Cadre, containing the controversial cartoons originally printed in Danish newspapers in September, removed from circulation on campus.

The administration has taken this action on grounds that publication of the caricatures represents a reckless invitation to public disorder and humiliation. The University acknowledges the debates about press freedom and responsibility generated by this matter.”

I put that one bit in bold because I like the pairing.

I’m of two minds on this one. On one hand, as a one-time idealistic, amateur news scribbler, I used to abhor the faintest whiff of censorship and attempts to curb freedom of the press . . . it still makes me deeply uncomfortable. I can see where the administration is coming from, wanting to remove it from their campus (especially during International Week on campus!!) . . . but the concept of outright confiscation/banning does still make me queasy.

HOWEVER: I believe in freedom of the press and freedom of expression but with such freedom, I do think there must be **some** smallish measure of responsibility and thought.

We don’t accept stereotypical depictions of, say, black or Aboriginal or East Asian peoples anymore in mainstream, contemporary society, as a general standard of respect and taste. We don’t condone racist materials, at least not in mainstream society. And it is one thing to make fun of ourselves, our own Western “major” religion or, well, lack thereof.

We may see these cartoons, in our society, as simply cartoons about religion . . . for many East Asians of Islamic faith, this cuts to the core of their identity. If I were a Muslim in Europe, and saw these cartoons in a major newspaper, I would not feel so very comfortable or accepted.

And, while some might argue that the cartoons are “tame” (and I certainly do not accept them as justification for the level of violence and rhetoric popping up in many demonstrations these days, and neither does the Muslim community, at large, in North America), I don’t see what the point is of provoking further what is evidently a very very very sensitive area for so many people. I believe that they were created, in Europe, primarily to stoke already simmering tensions. Is that responsible/respectful? I don’t know. They are just cartoons, but one image still possesses so much power, as we are seeing this past week. Sure, the pen is mightier.

I think there are bigger, more important, battles out there for journalists. Sometimes, subtle protests/communications are stronger than the blatant.

So that’s my spiel — I’m sure I’ll have folks commenting on this one. I am not of a fixed mind, again — I’m not good at black-and-white, RIGHT vs. WRONG, analysis and I tend to be happy in shades of gray . . . but my mind is leaning in this way. We have the rights and freedoms, but we also have the right to wield them well. Just because we can, doesn’t always mean we should.

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