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On Index on Censorship’s decision to not publish Danish cartoons

Jonathan Dimbleby
Chair
Board of Trustees
Index on Censorship
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3GA

Dear Mr Dimbleby

We are deeply shocked and disappointed by the decision of Index to censor its own magazine from publishing one of the Danish cartoons to illustrate an article relating to the subject.

We believe this is a betrayal of those who are putting their lives on the line to defend freedom of expression. We should be standing together. It is only through a united stance that we can protect each other and defeat the extremists and those who wish to use fear and threats to silence dissent.

Index on Censorship, above all should not be indulging in self-censorship.

Finally, this is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with the content of the cartoons: as the famous quote goes: “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” But it has everything to do with standing up to those who would take away our freedom to express ourselves and would enslave humanity. It has everything to do with not abandoning the growing numbers of brave people standing up for human rights, freedom and against censorship, around the world.

Yours sincerely,

Roy Brown, International Representative, International Humanist and Ethical Union
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association
Douglas Murray, Director, Centre for Social Cohesion
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law for All and Iran Solidarity
David Pollock, President, European Humanist Federation
Fariborz Pooya, Head, Iranian Secular Society
Hassan Radwan, Management Committee Member, Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society

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Background:

The new edition of the Index on Censorship magazine carries an interview with Jytte Klausen about the kerfuffle with Yale University Press. Jo Glanville (editor of Index on Censorship) wanted to publish one of the cartoons to illustrate the interview. Index’s board refused. Kenan Malik was not at the board meeting but was furious with the decision. He agreed not to resign so long as this did not remain simply an internal debate. So the Index website has posted up the Klausen interview, a piece from Jonathan Dimbleby (chairman of the board)defending the board’s position not to publish the cartoons and one from Kenan as to why it was profoundly wrong. His piece is here.

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