The Top line of the cartoon was extracted from “In Britain, Spy Chief Calls For More Power For Agency.” NYTs, 1.10.15, A10. This is what generates fear and a call to ‘action’. Cameron’s response has been to demand access to the contents of every person’s communications. The Bottom Line is in response to calls for “more sensitivity” from cartoonists. Added together and the result will be more surveillance and less freedom of speech.
Here is an example of censorship from the Public Editor’s Desk of the New York Times: 1.14.15 “I can understand why The Times would not have published “the most incendiary images,” as the executive editor, Dean Baquet, described them last week. He felt those extreme cartoons would not have been necessary to illustrate the story about the terrorist attack that killed eight members of the satirical newspaper’s staff. (The Times did publish a number of Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but none that pictured Muhammad; in addition, a short documentary video, published by the opinion side in The Times last week, showed the cartoons.)
Mr. Baquet made a tough call, which included safety concerns for Times staff, especially those in international posts. (Those concerns are far from frivolous; just days ago, a German newspaper’s office was firebombed after it published the cartoons following the attack, and now new concerns have arisen about reprisals.)
I certainly don’t think that decision was “cowardly,” as many have charged. Mr. Baquet told me repeatedly in recent days that he was paying attention to reader comments on last week’s blog post, and that he found them thoughtful and, in many cases, eloquent. He also passed along to me examples of correspondence from readers who thanked him for The Times’s restraint and sensitivity last week.”
Salman Rushdie, author of the Satanic Verses, who also was under a death threat since 1989, spoke about the assassinations of Charlie Hebdo, this week at a conference in Vermont: (This is a quote from The Guardian on January, 15th, 2015.)
“He said the role of art was to go to the edge, open the universe and expand minds. But doing that was not easy and artists could not occupy a middle ground.
“And so artists who go to that edge and push outwards often find very powerful forces pushing back. They find the forces of silence opposing the forces of speech. The forces of censorship against the forces of utterance,” he said.”
Mr. Rushdie said that he adamantly regrets that others have rushed to blame the cartoonists for their own murders; and he was angry and defended the principle of freedom as being absolute and indivisible. No half-way freedom is acceptable.