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Comment on this article

Exactly the Right Call

I advised Yale Press not to republish the Danish cartoons in an upcoming book, and I am relieved that the press heeded my counsel as well as the advice of many others. I was certain that reprinting these images would have provoked violence. It is a very difficult call whenever you are contemplating any kind of restraint on freedom of expression, but I think that the judgment call that Yale made is exactly the right one.


Reprinting these images would have provoked violence.

Even in a scholarly work, the republishing of these images would have reopened old wounds, and it struck me as a fairly strong likelihood that it would have been pounced upon by demagogues and phony religious leaders who are perverting the religion of Islam. They would have used it to draw battle lines. Yale correctly decided that it would be better to weather a little controversy now, as opposed to after an international incident that likely would have resulted in serious injury or death.

As a journalist and public commentator, I believe deeply in the First Amendment and academic freedom. But in this instance Yale Press was confronted with a clear threat of violence and loss of life.  the end






“Yale University Press and the Danish Cartoons”






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