Monday, April 17, 2006

South Park Censored.... again!

You may remember that Comedy Central pulled a March rerun of a "South Park" episode that mocked Scientologists. Well, this time thy have decided to censor a two-part episode of South Park called "Cartoon Wars" which featured a depiction of Mohammed.
This is how they offically explained their decision:
Comedy Central's belief in the First Amendment has not wavered, despite our decision not to air an image of Muhammad. Our decision was made not to mute the voices of Trey and Matt or because we value one religion over any other. This decision was based solely on concern for public safety in light of recent world events.
With the power of freedom of speech and expression also comes the obligation to use that power in a responsible way. Much as we wish it weren't the case, times have changed and, as witnessed by the intense and deadly reaction to the publication of the Danish cartoons, decisions cannot be made in a vacuum without considering what impact they may have on innocent individuals around the globe.
So clearly, Comedy Central is using the "responsibility" card. Well, given what we know of how the whole mess with the Danish Cartoons started, I don't think anyone would have been noticed if they had not made a big deal of it. No one in the Islamic world at least. Those who watch "South Central" are unlikely to be those who get offended by a depiction of Mohammed.
Secondly, the Muslim community in the US is not very large compared to that of Europe (which means that it would probably be futile for the Islamist radicals to try to gain American muslims by stirring public outrage and disorder. It didn't even work in Europe).
Besides it is not like the image of the US can get any worse than it is in the Muslim world.
Finally, the chances are that the reasons why Comedy Central, Border's Books, or the world's media organizations censor a satirical cartoon have more to do with business interests than 'public safety', (mking money is theur business after all, and there is nothing wrong with that) and so I agree with Matt Stone and Trey Parker (the creators of South Park) and with TigerHawk that using freedom of speech to defend their decision is hypocritical and dishonest.

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