on the Muhammad Cartoon Controversy
As a worldwide association of Catholic media professionals
we join with all those who have strongly criticised the decision
to publish the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad which
were published recently in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten.
We wish, however, also to reiterate our unswerving commitment
to the principles of freedom of speech and expression. Freedom
of speech is a fundamental human right and the basis of free
and democratic societies.
Freedom of speech, of course, is a responsibility as well as
a right and in this instance the publication of the cartoons
was deeply irresponsible. The cartoons were nothing more than
stereotypical smears which were neither insightful nor effective.
But the provocation of the cartoons does not justify the violence
and fanaticism of some of those who have protested against them.
We support those Muslims who have condemned the violence and
urged the protestors to rely solely on peaceful means. Furthermore,
we condemn all forms of incitement to hatred on the grounds
of religion, race or other characteristics. The antidote to
extremism is dialogue and understanding between communities,
whether religious or secular.
At our recent World Congress in Lyon we committed ourselves
to joining with all those who are contributing to a Culture
of Peace through the media. We reiterate that commitment and
pledge ourselves anew to communicate through the media in ways
that contribute to peace, build inter-religious and intercultural
dialogue and foster democratic debate based on mutual respect
Marc Aellen Augustine Loorthusamy
Secretary General President