NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin weighs in on NYPost cartoon controvery

picture-4CNN’s coverage of the NY Post’s controversial cartoon from a First Amendment perspective. Click here to watch the video.

NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin weighs in, noting NCAC’s response to the violence in Denmark resulting from a newspaper’s running cartoon portrayals of Mohammed.


In that case, where responses were dramatically more aggravated, we wrote:

Though unprecedented in scale, the furor over these cartoons raises familiar questions.  . . .  [A]ll words and images exist in complex socio-political contexts and, as is painfully clear, can trigger disproportionate responses. Suppressing controversial expression cannot erase the underlying tension, but it does risk giving rise to a dangerously undemocratic climate, wherein satire of any group is off-limits. The line between sensitivity and censorship is a fine one indeed.

As an organization dedicated to preserving the right of free expression, NCAC cannot endorse the notion that even noxious expression should be suppressed solely because it could be used to provoke violence. More than a heckler’s veto, such a stance would invite violent and lawless action, at the expense of discussion and debate.

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One Response to NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin weighs in on NYPost cartoon controvery

  1. Dan Herzner says:

    Over the past week I’ve been speaking about this cartoon on my blog. People are allowing their hysteria to get in the way of what this cartoon is really pointing out. It in no way is it implying violence against President Obama. Congress WROTE the bill, Obama SIGNED the bill. This cartoon is saying that this is such a poorly written bill that a chimp could’ve done it. Only chimpanzees should be offended by this cartoon and nobody else. Chimps should be offended because even they are not so stupid as to write a bill like this.

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