Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Journalists force Daily Star to drop "Daily Fatwa"

More censorship. Last night members of the National Union of Journalists "courageously resisted" the possibility of offending Muslims. From the Media Guardian (registration required):
The Daily Star last night pulled a page that mocked Muslim law by turning the tabloid into the "Daily Fatwa" following a newsroom revolt.

Management acted after the Daily Star's National Union of Journalists' chapel held a stop work meeting that produced a resolution condemning the page.

The page included a "Page 3 burqa babes special" showing a woman in a niqab, as part of a feature billed as "How your favourite paper would look under Muslim law".

The page also contained a blank editorial stamped with the words "censored" and "Allah is great" while across the top of the page were the words "no news no goss no fun".

A competition told readers to "Burn a flag and win a Corsa", while a picture of the US president, George W Bush, was accompanied by a caption "death to infidels".

At a hastily arranged stop work NUJ chapel meeting, staff voiced fears of violent reprisals and carried a motion that condemned the feature.

"This National Union of Journalists chapel expresses its deep concern at the content of page 6 in tomorrow's Daily Star which we consider to be deliberately offensive to Muslims," the motion read.

"The chapel fears that this editorial content poses a very serious risk of violent and dangerous reprisals from religious fanatics who may take offence at these articles. This may place the staff in great jeopardy. This chapel urges the management to remove the content immediately."

When staff protested about the page, editor Dawn Neesom had already left the office, leaving deputy editor Ben Knowles, who joined the paper from men's magazine Zoo in September, in charge.

Knowles pulled the page and replaced it with a story about the seven wonders of the modern world.

The NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "This was an outrageous and hugely irresponsible idea which fortunately our chapel courageously resisted and, in so doing, protected both the paper and its staff from possible serious repercussions.

"The union's code of conduct condemns this sort of gratuitous material which is likely to encourage discrimination and hatred in our society.

"We are calling on the Daily Star to act wisely and responsibly and put this moment of madness behind them for good."

The Daily Star had not commented in time for publication.
The Press Gazette has also covered the story:
According to a source at the paper editors have not ruled out running the story tomorrow.
Whatever the Daily Star chapel of the NUJ thinks, nobody has a right to be not offended. If you want to offer your support to the editors or tell the journalists what you think, here's the email address of the newsdesk:
Update. Head office of the NUJ:
It's the claim that they "courageously resisted" that really gets me. Oh yeah, really courageous:
A Muslim journalist facing charges of sedition for advocating ties with Israel was recently attacked and beaten by a crowd in Bangladesh that allegedly included leading officials of the country's ruling party, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, editor of the Weekly Blitz newspaper, an English-language publication based in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, was working in his office on October 5 when nearly 40 people stormed the premises


Anonymous The jabberwock said...

Northern and Shell should take a leaf out of Murdoch's book: move production somewhere else, hire a non-unionised workforce and SACK THE LOT OF THEM.

4:50 pm  
Anonymous Izzie said...

Well, I've sent them an email letting them know how I feel.

That freedom of the press, as well as traditional British humour and satire, should not be censored due to fears of reprisals. After all, every other sector of society has been closely examined and ridiculed, and the more we cave in to the overly-sensitive muslim community, the less freedom we will have due to self-censorship.

5:56 pm  
Anonymous JohnM said...

It's revealing that the NUJ motivation seems to have avoided the PC "let's try not to mock a powerless victim group", which would have been the case in recent years, to "let's not try offending a very dangerous special interest group".

It seems to me that the NUJ has just equated Muslims with the Mafia. How sensitive is that?

5:57 pm  
Blogger AntiCitizenOne said...

This is the media that tells us that "Islam is a Religion of Peace". Are they admitting to lying?

6:10 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

I've also sent them an email pointing out that our British laws give us the right to offend anyone we like, and that we are not ruled by the Dark Ages laws of the Bedouin tribe.

Jabberwock - Yes, the Daily Star should sack the lot of them. If those trade unionists want to run a newspaper, they should buy one or start one up. Otherwise, butt out of management matters.

Izzie writes: "...and the more we cave in to the overly-sensitive muslim community,".

Izzie, the "muslim community" whater TF that is, is not over-sensitive. They are overly opportunistic. They are constantly on the alert for sly ways to breach the strong edifice of liberty of the West. These people are not sensitive. They are aggressors constantly on the look-out for new tools.

Do not fall for their propaganda. People who hang young men for being born homosexual, who perpetrate genital mutilation on little girls, who commit "honour killings on their own daughters", who bury women up to their neck in sand and stone them to death for adultery - adultery being defined as rape without the presence of four male witnesses - are not sensitive people.

They are primitive, violent, aggressive and frankly, insane. muslims - especially the muslim council - make Tom & Jerry cartoons look too passive.

7:13 pm  
Blogger AntiCitizenOne said...

I reckon that compared to the left (death toll 100 million) the right generally refuse to kill people for their political views.

Perhaps we need to learn from our enemies?


7:43 pm  
Anonymous izzie said...

Verity - I completely agree with everything you say. I was understating the muslim's reactions to insult - the trouble with blogs is that faces can't be seen and sarky comments are not that obvious (as it is with the women who wear the full veil)

9:10 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

Izzie - In any event, I hope the editor runs the issue tomorrow. Apparently she'd already left for the day when the decision was made to pull the issue -- although, of course, it could have been her decision over the phone.

There's an extremely good post from a muslim in today's Telegraph in the comments from readers - Your View - column on the front page. It's by a by Mohammad shahid Kamal and is too long to paste here, but is well worth reading. It's very intelligent and clear-thinking and he says basically that the veil is an ancient Arabic practice that way predates islam and has nothing to do with islam. Do go to The Telegraph and read his post because it's very lucid and well-reasoned.

9:38 pm  
Blogger Mr Eugenides said...

Actually I find myself disagreeing with you, for once, dfh. Of course the newspaper should print what they want, and it's none of the union's business. But the description I've read of this page suggests that it was tasteless, unfunny, and just pointlessly provocative.

Let's put it this way; if I were a journo on the Daily Star (God forbid), and I'd seen this page in draft, my jaw would have dropped, and I'd have picked up a phone and suggested to the editor that he rethink.

Nothing to do with fatwas or PC; nothing that I wouldn't have also done, as this hypothetical hournalist, had the page mocked any other religion or racial group in the same way, or - for example - had some deranged paparazzi got photos of Prescott wandering about in the buff. Just a basic degree of quality control.

Being free to publish what you see fit is a right which must not be infringed in any way, but that doesn't imply that you have to publish any old tripe, no matter how crass and offensive, just because it made you giggle in the staff room.

11:36 am  
Anonymous verity said...

"that doesn't imply that you have to publish any old tripe, no matter how crass and offensive, just because it made you giggle in the staff room."

The "staff room" in any publication is the office and if they all thought it was funny, a dollar to a dime their readers would also have thought it was funny. Their right to publish tripe cannot be abridged. It's a business decision; nothing more.

2:22 pm  
Anonymous The jabberwock said...

dfh: maybe a non-union mole could be persuaded to leak the contents to the blogosphere as a pdf.

OK, so Northern and Shell wouldn't make any money on it, but we could all have a belly-laugh in the privacy of our own homes.

11:30 am  

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