Censorship! Persmuseum IISG

2000-...: Censorship and Self-Censorship in the 21th Century
Mohammed cartoons
The Mohammed cartoons and the cartoon riots of 2005/2006
On 30 September 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands posten, one of the biggest daily papers in Denmark, published 12 drawings that depict the prophet Mohammed. The publication of the cartoons in the newspaper was prompted by the complaint made by an author that no-one was prepared to illustrate his book about Mohammed. One of the cartoons depicted the prophet with a bomb in his turban. Protests broke out all over the world and dozens of embassies, including the Pakistani and Iranian ones, wrote letters to the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh. After a few weeks of tense calm the matter escalated and thousands of Moslems took to the streets in various countries, embassies and cartoonists were threatened and goods from Denmark were boycotted. In fact the issue continues to this day. The cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who created the 'bomb turban', is still in hiding and in February 2008 a number of people were arrested who were said to be plotting his murder. Cartoonists in the Netherlands and other countries repeatedly express their support for their colleagues in Denmark, but also say that they themselves are cautious when it comes to such images. Self-censorship seems to be gaining ground unavoidably.