Friday, December 09, 2005

UN commissioner trying to censor Danish media?

EU: Louise Arbour being the sensitive type is going to try something to punish the Danish paper who published cartoons of Allah at the behest of the Organisation of Islamic Conferences.

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, is concerned about a Danish newspaper's caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten's twelve cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed are causing ripples across the world and worries at the Office of the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour. National daily Berlingske Tidende reported on Wednesday that Arbour had written a letter to the Organisation of Islamic Conferences (OIC), an international organisation of 56 Muslim states, which had complained over the cartoons. In September, Jyllands-Posten called for and printed the cartoons by various Danish illustrators, after reports that artists were refusing to illustrate works about Islam, out of fear of fundamendalist retribution. The newspaper said it printed the cartoons as a test of whether Muslim fundamentalists had begun affecting the freedom of expression in Denmark. Muslims in Denmark and abroad have protested against the newspaper, calling the caricatures blasphemous and a deliberate attempt to provoke and insult their religious sensitivities. Arbour said she understood their concerns. 'I would like to emphasise that I deplore any statement or act showing a lack of respect towards other people's religion,' she said. Berlingske Tidende reported that it held a copy of the letter, which stated that Arbour had appointed to UN experts in the areas of religious freedom and racism to investigate the matter. 'I'm confident that they will take action in an adequate manner,' Arbour said in her letter to the 56 governments, which have requested the UN to address the issue with Denmark. A diplomat from one of the countries told the newspaper that the governments were pleased with Arbour's answer. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was aware of the letter, but had no comments about it. He has previously refused to meet with the ambassadors of some of the Muslim countries who wanted to discuss the cartoons, saying he had no power over the national media's actions. OIC is holding a summit in Mekka on Wednesday and Thursday, where the cartoons will be amongst the issues on the agenda.
We have the United Nations looking to take action against newspapers for their content. If she puts out even a statement condemning the paper and the cartoonists, at the very least it will show the UN is more interested in appeasing certain groups at the expense of Western standards involving Freedom of Expression. This is yet another argument that the UN should never come within a universe of having a say over the internet among other issues.

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