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irregular times logoTo Publish or Not to Publish?:
A Matter of Both Free Speech and Editorial Discretion in the Matter of Images of Mohammed

-- February 9, 2006

Although over the past few months we at Irregular Times have published our own images of the Islamic prophet Mohammed (Comic 1 | Comic 2 | Comic 3 | Comic 4), you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of the original 12 images of Mohammed from the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten from our pages. When newspapers across Europe and the United States have faced the test of publishing or denying these images, why have we not provided a mirror to these images ourselves? Why not show the images when we so strongly support the right of Danish and other newspapers to publish them?

Our answer is that there are multiple purposes of, and therefore multiple thresholds in, publication. Clearly, we have published our own set of Mohammed comic strips because in writing and drawing them, we naturally find ourselves in agreement with them, erasing any substantive quandaries. But we did not draw the original 12 Mohammed cartoons, and do not necessarily find ourselves in agreement with them. Indeed, it would be fair to say that we do not like a number of them. To support others' right to free speech is not the same as to agree to pass on others' words or images. The right to speech is not an obligation to print. And so, simply because we do not find ourselves in agreement with a number of the Danish cartoons, we have felt little need to publish them in our own mirror site.

However, as the controversy regarding the Danish paper's images of Mohammed has spread, another consideration has emerged. People are being asked to take stands regarding the images, and yet newspapers and television programs in their localities have decided not to make the images available. It is reasonable to ask how someone could possibly form an opinion regarding images of Mohammed if one could not see them at all. It is reasonable to expect that active, responsible citizens in an Information Age should be able to review the images and make their own considered decisions regarding them. When issues become salient and broadly relevant, materials regarding those issues must be made accessible. And so, because our mainstream media has largely refused to make those materials accessible in this case, we now feel some need to publish them in our own mirror site.

Below you may find copies of the twelve images of Mohammed originally posted in the Danish Jyllands Posten newspaper in the autumn of 2005. Please note that the act of our providing these images in this archive is NOT an endorsement of their content, and that we actually find a number of them to be disagreeable. However, we also feel that you have the right to make your own judgment on this highly-charged issue, and so provide the images as a service to you (a service that mainstream American papers and networks have high-handedly decided you don't need):

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