Dont Show Dont Tell The Mohammed Cartoons Editorial
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Don’t Show, Don’t Tell: The Mohammed Cartoons & Editorial Independence Sarah Raaii Dr. Lyombe Eko The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication INTRODUCTION • Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve satirical cartoons featuring Mohammed • Publication unleashed firestorm of protest, manipulation by Muslim militants for political/ideological purposes • Newspapers across Europe and Arab Islamic World republished Mohammed cartoons • Major global news story made newspapers want to “show and tell” • Publication jeopardized editors for exercising • Editorial authority • Judgment • Autonomy • Why editors jeopardized themselves? • Show of journalistic solidarity • Support for freedom of press • Editors involved in struggle over journalistic paradigm • Editorial autonomy and independence • Right/rite of editorial illustration AIM OF STUDY RESULTS Analyze the paradigm of newspaper editor as an autonomous gatekeeper, using • Editor reactions • Court rulings in reaction to the initial 2005 publishing of the controversial Mohammed cartoons. • Mohammed cartoons controversy challenged the gatekeeping role of editors RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. How did the editors represent their gate-keeping roles in the context of the Mohammed cartoons litigation? 2. How did the judicial authorities represent the gate-keeping role of editors within the context of the Mohammed cartoons litigations? 3. How did the opponents of publication of the cartoons attempt to “gate the gatekeepers” by through representing the gate-keeping role of editors? 4. How did the BBC and media defense groups represent the gatekeeping role of editors? METHOD: Qualitative Analysis A threefold methodology was employed: 1. Survey of the editors of newspapers which published the Mohammed cartoons to determine their reasons for publishing the cartoons. 2. Legal analysis of Mohammed cartoons litigation (case law) in Denmark and France to determine how the courts and the editors represented the paradigmatic role of the editor. Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) 3. Qualitative content analysis of BBC and media interest group coverage of the trials and tribulations of editors who published the cartoons. • Editors used their informational power to defend their constitutional right/rite of gatekeeping • Editors claimed their right to publish the cartoons was a constitutional right that should not be trumped by religion • Editors used their gatekeeping roles to publish the cartoons as legitimate part of the “clash of civilizations” CONCLUSION The Mohammad cartoons affair demonstrated differential conceptualizations of the concept of freedom of expression and by extension the independence and autonomy of editors. It was a concrete example of the clash of civilizations in the age of globalization.