A reporter’s guide on Islam is coming under fire for advancing political correctness over the First Amendment freedoms of speech and press.
The online guide, “Islam for Journalists,” published by Washington State University’s journalism school, instructs reporters to be fair without being offensive in covering the Muslim world, according to Fox News.
The guide, written by Lawrence Pintak, dean of the school’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, received approval from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In one example, it says journalists should refrain from publishing images of Mohammed, which is forbidden by the Quran.
“Across the Muslim world extremists are wielding their swords with grisly effect, but the pen … can be just as lethal,” Pintak wrote in the guide’s introduction. “Many Muslim journalists simply couldn’t understand why Western news organizations would republish the offensive images just because [of a legal right]. Journalism is not supposed to be a weapon [it is meant] to inform, not inflame.”
In 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published two editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet, calling the effort an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship. Predictably, Muslim groups in Denmark complained and protests took place around the world, including violent demonstrations in some Muslim countries.
Jutte Klausen, a professor at Brandeis University, wrote the book “The Cartoons that Shook the World” about the events, only to see the offending images cut by publisher Yale University.
Kinda defeats the whole purpose of the book, doesn’t it? Klausen seemed to think so.
“My book was censored,” Klausen told FoxNews.com. “The issue was that nobody really understood what the cartoons meant. It was a different dilemma for the media at the time when they were published. No one was prepared for an international media landscape and how something like this could have different meanings for different people.
“After that it became a matter of security,” she added. “But security is often an excuse for censorship.”
And censorship defeats the purpose of journalism — to present the facts and let the chips fall where they may.
Even Pintak’s comments seem contradictory.
“A commitment to press freedom is in my blood,” he wrote, but added, “Journalism is not supposed to be a weapon.”
Journalism is meant to bring light to a subject, free of color, hue, tint or shade.
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