Wednesday, February 15, 2006

PDI on the Separation of Church and Press

We have found the limits of Press Freedom in the Philippines, and it is indeed at the Gates of Religion.

Up until Conrado de Quiros published a column on the Danish cartoon controversy yesterday, there has been a contemptible silence in most of the Main and Blog Stream Media. Today, after weeks of turmoil over the issue PDI published an editorial on the issue. Muslims might hate the editorial cartoon that was used though (NOT Made in Denmark by Jyllands Postens), even if today's Philippine Daily Inquirer Editorial, Indivisible Freedoms, uncharacteristically tries to be "sensitive" and "respectful." For might the PDI cartoon not be seen as sending the message that "Muslims are blowing up the world"? In bending over backwards to appease "religious correctness" PDI only ends up dividing Freedom of Religion from Freedom of the Press and separating them from their indivisible source -- the democratic Right of Free Speech and Expression. To believe in God is as sacred a right as to believe in anything else. To express a religious belief by "practicing a religion" is no different than to publish a column to express a private opinion or belief.

It is a dark and mournful day to see the paper I used to love and write so passionately for, lose its way and so completely disavow the Democracy that protects and sustains its own passions and pursuits. And so that there will be no misunderstanding or misquoting about what has been said, I shall reproduce every word of this infamous and traitorous manifesto to prove, sadly, that just like under Martial Law, the Philippines has indeed become Not Free, because certain Sacred Cows may not be gored, not even by the newspaper that prides itself in destabililizing and overthrowing not one but two Presidents, and is strenuously going for a third. By the way, the above unretouched Editorial Cartoon on page A-14 of the 15 February edition of PDI shows a lit bundle of dynamite strapped to the Globe by a headband that reads "Islamic Protests Over Danish Toons." Especially when taken out of its context on the printed page, it too isn't going to appease too many Muslims with such a clumsy and provocative characterization of the present situation. (It'll serve PDI right if they get a Salman Rushdie fatwah issued against them for this new anti-Muslim cartoon). But I'm talking about just plain old secular infidel civil libertarians like me -- who will never --EVER!-- be appeased by this APOSTASY of Democracy:


Philippine Daily Inquirer Editorial February 15, 2006

LAST Friday, a funeral was held in Rome for Fr. Andrea Santoro, a missionary priest killed the week before in Turkey. Camillo Cardinal Ruini of Rome announced at the funeral that he wanted to open the process for the beatification and eventual canonization of the priest. Santoro, he said, was a martyr. He was definitely a kind and pious man: Pope Benedict XVI ordered a letter Santoro wrote to him, on behalf of three Catholic women asking the Pope to visit their parish, published in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.

In Turkey, the person accused of killing Santoro “admitted that he was driven by hatred aroused by the publication of the caricatures of Mohammed published in the Western press,” according to one press account. The accused murderer was under the impression that Santoro was actively trying to convert Muslims to Catholicism. In fact, the Italian’s ministry was to attend to small, isolated Catholic communities in areas that once comprised the Catholic settlements of antiquity. While praising the Christian virtues of Santoro, and proclaiming his worthiness to be considered a martyr -- proof of which would immediately result in sainthood -- Vatican officials have been careful not to lay blame at the doorstep of Islam, whether as a religion or a community. The kind of misunderstanding that would lead a man to kill another, in the name of God, all because of a profoundly irreligious act that took place a very long distance away, is in a sense a parable for our times.

CAVEAT: It is indeed a dark and mournful day when the newspaper with the greatest pretensions to defending Press Freedom would be calling the work of journalists "a profoundly irreligious act". Normally the following would be irrelevant, but it is a famously known fact that both the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Inquirer begin each workday by first kissing and praying before a stone idol of Mama Mary at the bottom of the spiral staircase that ascends to their Editorial offices. Perhaps that is why they are at pains to explain how to celebrate the martyrdom of Fr. Santoro without offending the sensibilities of the religion in whose name his murderer sent him to Heaven. They deny Fr. Santoro was "actively" trying to convert Muslims to Catholics. Well, maybe Fr. Santoro was actually in Turkey trying to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, but I seriously doubt he was "passively" trying to evangelize the Muslims. The man who killed Father Santoro admitted it was hatred that drove him, yet PDI makes it appear it was the remote control doings of Danish cartoonists. Oh yeah, PDI. Abjure personal responsibility for crimes and blame everything on stuff people are drawing half a world away. The Danes made him do it? Or was it radical Danish imam-provocateurs working with Syria and Iran to inflame the Arab Street?

The National Catholic Reporter has this on Father Santoro's murder:
"Among other things, what Santoro's death illustrates is just how thin the veneer of civility sometimes can be in the border zones of the world where Christians and Muslims rub shoulders. In that sense, the lessons of the killing may have little to do with the cartoon controversy, but a great deal to say about the future of Christianity in majority Muslim nations. On the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 5, a 16-year-old Turk entered St. Mary's Church in Trabzon and fired two bullets into Santoro's lungs and heart, shouting Allah akbar, meaning "Allah is great." He later said he had been agitated by the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoons. Santoro, 61 at the time he was murdered, was a donum fidei priest, a priest released by the diocese of Rome to serve as a missionary on Turkey's Black Sea Coast. A popular Roman pastor, he left for Turkey at the age of 55, saying he felt the need to "start over again" in the place where one tradition holds that Abraham was born, in Urfa, and where the earliest Christian communities took shape. "Being here, where what you can do is so limited, it's much more important who you are," Santoro told an Italian documentary last year, which was rebroadcast on the morning of his funeral. "You have to ask, 'What have I got inside?' If you love others only when you're surrounded by a certain apparatus, with a certain level of satisfaction, is that really love?" "As Christians in this land, we carry a message of reconciliation, the same reconciliation that was born with the blood of Jesus," he said.

PDI continues--
PDI: Thornton Wilder, in his short novel “The Bridge of San Luis Rey,” tackled a profoundly religious question. In the book, a monk named Brother Juniper witnesses the “finest bridge in all Peru” collapse, killing five people. And he asks, “Why did it happen to those five?”

As a consequence of editorial cartoons being published in a Danish newspaper, the world has been asking the same question -- in the Middle East, where, from Damascus and Teheran to Palestine and Baghdad, Muslims erupted in fury. Just as they did in Denmark itself, and all over Europe; and everywhere, from Pakistan and Indonesia to the Philippines, where Islamic communities are found. Days of anger and violence have resulted in the Islamic world engaging in soul-searching of its own. Yesterday, a meeting between the Danish prime minister and the leaders of Denmark’s Muslim community led to calls on their co-religionists to “move on.”

Excesses such as rioting and complications such as some irresponsible provocateurs inserting two cartoons (the most offensive ones) among the real cartoons circulated among Muslims aside, the Islamic world has been adamant about its belief that the Western press crossed the line. Non-Muslims have also observed that what the Western media attempted to paint as purely a question of freedom of expression was not that at all; it was a question of secular contempt for religious conventions.

CAVEAT: And what about religious contempt for secular conventions? In my post yesterday, Reporters Without Borders tells of Yemeni editors and journalists being jailed and their newspapers closed down for publishing the Danish cartoons.
"Reporters Without Borders expressed dismay at the arrest, on 10 February 2006, of Abdel Halim Akram Sabra, editor of the independent weekly Al-Hurriya, journalist Yahya Al Aabed and editor of the Yemen Observer Mohammed Al Asaadi, for publishing the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Al Hurriya and two other newspapers that published the cartoons, the Yemen Observer and the Al Raî Al Aam have been closed."
But there we have it from PDI: "the Western Press crossed the line." Philippine Commentary stands proudly with that Western Press AND that Yemeni Arab newspaper in denouncing the coming appeasement to religious fascists everywhere that PDI and its brand of "free press" apparently now espouses. Here's more from our favorite, uhmm, clerico-fascist newspaper--
PDI: "While the Philippines adheres to the principle of the separation of Church and State, and indeed, the Philippine media are heir to a tradition of anticlericalism dating to the Propaganda Movement, as a whole, Filipinos are profoundly respectful of religious conventions. Even the bigotry of certain Filipinos toward their Islamic countrymen does not extend to flagrantly heaping contempt on their faith. There are lines Filipinos do not cross, and rightly so (if only we did not cross more of them than we already do).

"Islam and Christianity both pay the highest tribute to martyrs. Even secular societies consider martyrdom possible in defense of country or ideology. The question is whether any kind of creed, including secularism as understood in the West, calls for provocations that make it inevitable for people to become martyrs, whether unintentionally or by design. While we do not counsel self-censorship arising out of fear, we do believe that a proper recognition of the central role faith plays in the lives of millions would go far to avoid undue provocation against people who take their religion seriously. After all, since World War II, the world has rallied to defend the Four Freedoms: of speech and expression; of every person to worship God in his own way; from want; and from fear. They all go hand in hand, and to raise one over the other diminishes them all.

Well there you have it folks -- straight from the Philippine Daily Inquirer -- our new Principles of Separation of Church and Press. Here are the old fashioned principles of Democracy --

Freedom of Religion IS Freedom of Expression
The basic democratic principles that govern this situaation, IMHO, are discussed here.
Danish Cartoons Broke the Muslim Taboo On Idolatry
This is why the Muslims have rioted.
It's Capital Blasphemy Just To Describe the Cartoons

How then can religious idolaters -- Roman Catholic Marian devotees that run PDI -- end up supporting, or at least allowing, the appeasement of the Mohammedan anti-idolaters who want to impose THEIR religious beliefs on everybody? I mean, if we literally accept the prescriptions of PDI, even the Encyclopedia Brittannica and many, many history textbooks that depict Mohammed anyway, would have to be considered blasphemy and "over the line."?

I suspect the reason for the mental and logical contortionism on the part of the PDI Editorial is the same as that of The Responsible Journalism of Conrado de Quiros....

By the way, here are all the Danish Cartoons at my favorite European webstop: the Brussels Journal. Tell me this has nothing to do with Press Freedom when newspapers are being shut down and journalists being jailed and threatened with death in Muslim countries. Tell me you don't want to see why PDI has proclaimed the Separation of the Church and Press in the global politics of the thing.

EMAIL from QTPi: "Looks like Philippine Commentary won't be winning the Catholic Mass Media Awards this year." Rizalist replies: Why not???

A SUPERB CARTOON FROM COX AND FORKUM shows Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad with fingers in his ears and eyes closed muttering, "Didn't happen! ... Didn't happen..." as a long single file of Jews with bared forearms showing Serial Numbers from Treblinka...Auschwitz...Dachau..."Didn't happen...didn't happen!"


Without Borders said...

now we know where pdi stands on real issues like press freedom.


A friend sent this story on the Pope. I hope that when 'papists' (supporters, followers, admirers and defenders of the Pope) or 'gayists' - idem as in definition of 'papists' xcept they're for gay rights - read this, they won't threaten me with violence or verbal stampede coz like lots of you guys here, I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF THE BLOG PRESS...

Here it is:

The Pope was finishing his sermon. He ended it with the Latin phrase, "Tuti homini" - Blessed be mankind.

A women's rights group approached the pope the next day. They noticed that the pope had blessed all of mankind, but not womankind. So the next day, after his sermon, the pope concluded by saying, "Tuti homini, et tuti
femini" - Blessed be mankind and womankind.

The next day, a gay-rights group approached the pope. They said that they noticed that he had blessed mankind and womankind, and asked if he could also bless those who are gay. The pope said, "Sure."

The next day, the pope concluded his sermon with, "Tuti homeni, et tuti femini, et tuti fruiti."

manuelbuencamino said...


Somehow the issue is clear because, as you so aptly title your post, it is about the separation of church and press.

The issue becomes murky when the "limits" on press freedom are discussed in purely secular or political terms.

What position do we take if the New York Times publishes cartoons portraying blacks as inferior, or homosexuals as perverts ?

Rizalist said...

MB--As long as we recognize that there is only ONE RIGHT that is being protected here: the Freedom of Expression, then the answer to your question follows immediately: it must be treated like any other exercise of free expression. Likewise, when anyone wishes to exercise his religion, it must all be done within the bounds of "free speech" rights. Because neither Press nor Church has any right that doesn't come from the privacy rights of INDIVIDUALS. There are no "
"citizens" called the Catholic Church or the PDI. Just people. So being religious is like being a journalist. The freedoms are ONE AND THE SAME, no more no less in either case. I can say this. If the Islamic community of Denmark held its own art contest, that would be okay, so would letters to the editor or PEACEFUL marches. But rioting and burning down the Embassies, that's not free speech exercise. Same for the Negroes and homosexuals, the journalists and the bloggers. Same rights and freedoms for everybody. With Responsibility to respect everybody's private fantasy or creed or opinion or editorial by not burning their embassy or newspaper down.

Without Borders said...

yes, ill allow new york times to do such things if they want to. for whatever reason. but why should they if they have "decency"? but no one should tell new york times what is decent or what is not or what is responsible or what is not. the blacks of course will protest or boycott the paper for file charges. or sympathising papers could have their own cartoon depicting new york times as loonies. whatever. but once they burn buildings or kill journalists, let's call the police. i guess its that simple.

Rizalist said...

Thanks for that WB. I guess the other impt point is that since freedom of religion and freedom of the press are both the same freedom of speech, any claimed transgression of those freedoms have the same general remedy: SUE UNDER THE LIBEL AND DEFAMATION LAWS! (but not shut down newspapers and burn down embassies)

Without Borders said...

precisely! let the courts decide.

manuelbuencamino said...


We all know that if the NYT publishes racist or anti-gay cartoons, there is very little chance that those cartoons are going to elicit civilized responses from offended parties. We can expect riots to erupt or at the very least someone is going to throw a rock at the NYT offices.

The NYT knows it is irresponsible and dangerous to publish cartoons or editorials that can cause riots or violent reactions from offended parties. This goes way beyond political correctness.

The NYT knows there is a world of difference between a mass circulation daily and a Ku Klux Klan rag sheet or blog or private opinions expressed around the office watercooler.

I do not favor press censorship and I believe that the only way to avoid that is for the press to exercise common sense and self-restraint because governments are always looking for ways to impose censorship.

The most common government justification for gagging the press is to claim that such censorship is vital to maintaining peace and order.

DJB, you are a realist and you know that freedom of the press is there only because governments tolerate it. Freedom of the press is a right but, unfortunately, the exercise of that right is a government granted privilege. I am talking about the government's power to take away licenses and franchises. That's the sad reality we have to live with.

That's why I believe the Danish paper was stupid, irresponsible, and wrong to publish cartoons that caused riots.

That Danish paper should have had enough common sense to refrain from publishing such juvenile and incendiary material.

That paper was doubly stupid to use freedom of the press as an excuse for publishing those cartoons because by doing so they may have opened tthe door to government censorship in the name of peace and order.

What is to prevent any government anywhere in the world from citing those riots as an excuse to put in writing a whole shopping list of topics that cannot be published because they might cause riots?

Freedom of the press is too valuable to lose. A free press is our watchdog and defense against government. That's why governments are always looking for ways to limit or take press freedom away.

We should never forget that reality. And we should never feel secure that a government will not take our free press given the slightest excuse.

So, by all means, let's be staunch defenders of the freedom of the press but, at the same time, let's not lay everything on the line defending the carelessness and stupidity of a Danish paper. Let's pick and choose our battles carefully because the enemy, government in this case, has all the aces or icenses if you will.

The Danish paper made a stupid mistake. Their case is not about freedom of speech. It is about endangering freedom of the press everywhere because they have given governments a tempting excuse to limit the freedom of the press in the name of peace and order.

Let's be specific.

Suppose the NYT publishes cartoons that make fun of the Holocaust. (Make sure it's The Holocaust and not just any anti-semitic subject)

You know the JDL, the ADL and the B'nai B'rith are not going to take that sitting down.

They will ask the NYT for an apology and a promise not to publish any more similar cartoons.

If the NYT says they will not stop because they are exercising their freedom, you can be sure that those Jewish organizations will do what they have to do to make the NYT stop.

You also know that the City of New York and even Washington is going to ask the NYT to stop because the consequences of publishing those cartoons will be disastrous.

Of course the NYT can insist on its rights. It might even get other papers to defend that right but there will be hell to pay because you know the JDL and the B'nai B'rith don't play around.

So try publishing cartoons that mock the Holocaust and publish them in any widely read New York newspaper and let's see what happens.

Let's see how the offended Jews will react if the paper continues to publish them.

Let's see how the governments of New York and Washington will address the issue despite professing respect for freedom of the press.

You can be sure you will not see anything close to the stupidity the Danes exhibited.

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

You are right, DJB, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of the Press is the same Freedom. But I must remember that my freedom ends where the freedom of othes begin. My exercise of my Faith must not urge me to burn, maim, or kill those of other faith or religion who CRITICIZE me or my religion. I must respect their right to do so as they must respect me.

Jesus Christ is the most maligned symbol of faith in our world today, and yet I do not see any Protestants nor evangelicals maiming, burning, or killing. We have learned our lessons well from the INQUISITION and the Roman Christian Persecutions. Christians love as Jesus did.

Rizalist said...

Thanks for a very long and thoughtful comment. I certainly hope I have not given the impression that it is JUST a question of freedom of expression, and that gives us license to disrespect the beliefs of others. It does not. That I think is the principle of the thing, but I agree free speech rights, can be UNWISELY exercised, or carelessly, without realizing its consequences. It is difficult to delve into motives of course, because in this case it seems much of the rioting, which occurred only now 5 months after publication, is a case of provocation--we cannot neglect the fact that three of the most provocative cartoons (not among those published originally) were actually included by Danish imams intending to get the Arab Street angry over them.

BFR--An important point you've touched on -- do Religions EVOLVE?

Amadeo said...

So what would happen once The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and other media flagships start publishing racist cartoons?

But they already have.

Here are sample incidences from this one press release:

And mind you directed against a very militant minority group, the African Americans.

Were the responses civilized?

I for one did not read about any perceptible protests that would have caught the attention of the rest of media.

Without Borders said...

"We all know that if the NYT publishes racist or anti-gay cartoons, there is very little chance that those cartoons are going to elicit civilized responses from offended parties." reaction: if im the publisher, ill fire the editor who always think whether or not an article may cause riots. that's prior restraint. that's not the business of the press! the business of the press is to provide information or "the truth," heaven may crumble.

"Freedom of the press is a right but, unfortunately, the exercise of that right is a government granted privilege."-- if its a right, then it should be a right, and not a privilege. we in media should be clear about it. in today's world, a democratic govt that revokes media licenses would be condemned to death by the civilized world.

"the danish paper is stupid."-- i dont think so. i admire them for testing the limits, for pushing the frontiers. what they did is some sort of historical gamble that is forcing the world to confront the issue of religious taboo. we christians had our own taboos before like the geocentric theory but the likes of galileo questioned them and the world is a lot better since a hundred years ago.

manuelbuencamino said...


The cartoon you cite is about Abu Ghraib and Condoleeza Rice's role in the Bush administation hence "I was Bush's beard! His house nigga.etc. " Beard, in this case, is a disguise or cover. Secondly, it takes a dig at the historical conflict between house nigga and field nigga. "You're not white ,stupid " , "Now hand over your hair straightener" This is a swipe at blacks who think, act and try to look like whites. This is not a racist cartoon against ALL blacks because it criticizes a certain mentality or sector of the black population called "Uncle Toms" who sell out their race by currying favor with the whites and who try hard to pass off as white.

I'll give you a racist cartoon -

Two white man lounging on the porch of a plantation mansion. One man has a gorilla on a leash, the other man has a negro on a leash. The man with the negro tells his friend, "You should replace your monkey with this new type that just came in from Africa. This monkey can talk and is easy to train" In the next cartoon frame have a group photo of all the black people who became accomplished in and made significant contributions to the fields of art, science, sport, politics etc. and put a caption that says - "What trained monkeys can and have done for mankind"

Publish the cartoon on the front page of all American major dailies on Martin Luther King's birthday as the highlight of black history month. Make sure its read by
every black leader, Distribute widely in Watts, Harlem, Chicago's southside, Detroit, Oakland, and DCs southeast .

Let's see if you can write these words again - "Were the responses civilized? I for one did not read about any perceptible protests that would have caught the attention of the rest of media."

Let's stick to honest comparisons.

manuelbuencamino said...

without borders,

It is not simply an issue of religious tolerance. And comparing the cartoonists to Galileo is way off the mark.

Galileo made a discovery that changed the world for the better. I don't think anybody believes Galileo embarked on his scientific journey so he could prove the church wrong. The effect of his discovery on church teaching was incidental and not the purpose of Galileo's research.
You cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, claim the same about those cartoons.

There is a smart way and a stupid way of pushing the frontiers.

manuelbuencamino said...

without borders,

It is not simply an issue of religious tolerance. And comparing the cartoonists to Galileo is way off the mark.

Galileo made a discovery that changed the world for the better. I don't think anybody believes Galileo embarked on his scientific journey so he could prove the church wrong. The effect of his discovery on church teaching was incidental and not the purpose of Galileo's research.
You cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, claim the same about those cartoons.

There is a smart way and a stupid way of pushing the frontiers.

Amadeo said...


I quote your initial statements:

We all know that if the NYT publishes racist or anti-gay cartoons, there is very little chance that those cartoons are going to elicit civilized responses from offended parties. We can expect riots to erupt or at the very least someone is going to throw a rock at the NYT offices.

The NYT knows it is irresponsible and dangerous to publish cartoons or editorials that can cause riots or violent reactions from offended parties. This goes way beyond political correctness.

I quote the statements in that press release by the concerned group noting, why the cartoons were racist:

Over the past few months, and peaking this week with her appointment, cartoonists have been using Dr. Rice's race as a point of ridicule. Demeaning political cartoons by Pat Oliphant and Jeff Danziger accentuate Dr. Rice's black features and feature her speaking in rural southern dialect. Garry Trudeau called her "Brown Sugar" in his "Doonesbury" comic strip. Earlier this year, cartoonist Ted Rall questioned Dr. Rice's race in a comic suggesting she was President Bush's "house nigga" and needed "racial re-education." Universal Press Syndicate distributes Oliphant, Trudeau and Rall. The New York Times distributes Danziger.

On November 17, radio host John "Sly" Sylvester called Dr. Rice "Aunt Jemima" and secretary of state Colin Powell "Uncle Tom" on his WTDY (Madison, Wisconsin) radio show.

Let me be clear then that the implied qualification you are making in your above statements is that you are not referring to racist cartoons that will offend only a certain segment of the minority population that the racism is directed against. Which segment may not be predisposed to airing or seeking redress of their displeasure or anger through violent means. That would potentially be the about 12% of the African American electorate who voted for Bush.

Though I would suggest to you that racist cartoons may be tolerated and not lead to violent reactions primarily because they are directed against members on the opposite side of a political fence, or whatever divide may have been erected.

manuelbuencamino said...


you are just repeating the reason I gave for why the Condoleeza Rice cartoon did not produce riots.

The racist cartoon example I gave you will, without a doubt, lead to riots not only in America but all over the black world and I would not be surprised if it spills over to the entire non-white world.

The racist cartoon example I gave you is closer to the Danish cartoons than the Condoleeza Rice cartoon you gave as an example. The rage those Danish cartoons produced will be matched by the rage my example will produce.

That is why i said Let's stick to honest comparisons.

Without Borders said...

mb: no one could judge which is the smart or stupid way to push the frontiers. even you could never be the judge of that. let the journalist do their work and let the libel or defamation laws check them or make them accountable for their editorial decisions. its really that simple. you put arbitrary barriers (be it religion, or national security and order or whatever) to man's quest for freedom of thought and expression, and you stifle human progress. we overcame the tyranny of the dark ages simply because scientists and artists in this world, consciously or unconsciosly, pushed the frontiers, the borders, and the limits.

manuelbuencamino said...

without borders,

Of course, you, me and anyone can judge what is stupid or not.

Consequences, especially, are a good gauge of the degree of stupidity.

Something really stupid is to repeat that which experience has taught you is stupid.

If you get smacked on the face because you made a careless remark that offended someone then you and any witnesses around will conclude that the smart thing to do is to think before you speak.

An even more stupid thing to do is to accuse your assailant of over reaction while he is still in the process of beating the living shit out of you.

I am not putting limits on"man's quest for freedom of thought and expression,".

The real issue here is freedom of the press. We are talking about mass media and not conversations around the office watercooler or private thoughts. Can't you see the difference?

The argument about stifling human progress is way off the mark. You insult great scientists and artists when you put them and their work at par with prejudice.

Finally, rising in defense of stupidity, mistaking it for some noble and profound pursuit, is probably the most stupid thing anyone can do, bar none.

manuelbuencamino said...


On an entirely different natter. I am looking for a photo or photos of manny pacquiao sandwiched between Chavit Singson and Mike Arroyo specifically one taken during the Pacquiao Morales fight.

My friend the cartoonist Philip Gilmore has been desperately looking for one. Can you help?

Without Borders said...

mb: let's go back to the danish cartoons. was it stupid for the editors to have those? im not about to call that stupid simply because mobs out there is going to lynch me for printing them. are the mobs' reactions the basis for us to restrict press freedom? now we have a new limit for press freedom: the mob's reactions. if im the editor, i wont probably have those cartoons here in the philippines (prior to the conflagrations) simply because they dont have news value. but if someone else did for whatever reason, ill defend that editor's right to do so and my opinion would surely not be swayed by the fact that some fundamentalists out there, whether "muslim" or "christian" or "nationalist" or what have you, is waiting in the dark to slit my throat. was the cartoon stupid? were those danish editors stupid? im not sure about that; its so cruel, presumptuous of me to think so. however, if you think that they are indeed, well i do respect your opinion.


Without Borders,

Based on cause and effect, it is easy to dedeuce today that publishing those cartoons was indeed stupid.

However, having published those cartoons, I agree with you that their editors' decision to stand by them as part and parcel of freedom of the press is not stupid.

I believe that a journalist, an editorial cartoonist, an opinion writer, his publisher all have the right to print what they want under the sacrosanct freedom of the press, provided they stand by them, whatever the backlash, and to defend that right against all odds.

Having said that, it is my conviction that that freedom of the press does not give the press or the media at large, license to be 'extremists' just as it is my belief that the overall Muslim reaction to those stupid cartoons is 'extremist', to say the least.

To be 'extremist' is akin to being racist. But I suppose, lots of us have a penchant for being 'extremist', and that's what makes the world an exciting place to live in.

manuelbuencamino said...

without borders,

ITo summarize that very long comment I made about the dynamics of press freedom and government.

The role of the press as watchdog always places it in an adversarial position with govenment,

As such, government is always on the look-out for ways to shut the press down.

The most convenient excuse for shutting down the press is - " in the interest of maintaining peace and order."

That is why I said the Danish press was reckless and stupid.

They have given governments everywhere an excuse to limit press freedom. Any government can now use those riots as a convenient excuse to prohibit the publication of material that can cause riots or, in our case, to justify the insertion of the word "responsible" in the constitution's language on press freedom .

We both love freedom of expression. I was simply calling your attention to how easy we can lose that right if are not careful with the battles we choose to fight.

Marcus Aurelius said...


If a newspaper tried to protray Jesse Jackson in a way the Ms. Rice has been portrayed there would be no end to the cries of racism. Just because the people who portray Ms. Rice in such a fashion are politically opposed to her does not excuse them from racism. The idea that if a black person doesn't agree with the black orthodoxy does not make them a Uncle Tom (or an Aunt Jemimah).

On my blog I hesitated on publishing the cartoons. I freely assented to the virtues of prudence and politeness (necessary virtues in a free society). However, what is happening in the world is not a move to convince Westerners to not insult Islam (the Arab Nation, Arab Governments, their checklists are much longer than ours) but to COERCE the West into not insulting Islam (the Arab Nation, Arab Governments, their checklists are much longer than ours). That is what changed my mind and as a result I published the cartoons.

If the Islamic protestors would have gone down the road of "Please, don't insult our Prophet", "Insult sin not Mohd" instead of the road of "Behead those who insult Islam" and torching embassies and all the mayhem then our argument would be very different and my guess is there would be a lot more people taking the side of the Muslims. The Muslims turned the debate from the need of being polite and civil to freedom of speech.

manuelbuencamino said...


First, that's the reason why I didn't use Jesse Jackson as an example. It would only muddle the issue. I gave my racist cartoon as an example so that the objects of racism are not divided along political lines.

Two, when one speaks carelessly, one cannot dictate how the offended party should react. That's why I say think before you speak.

Pleae read my other comments so you'll understand what I have been trying to say.

I am for freedom of expression. I am for freedom of the press.

Marcus Aurelius said...

Today I noted a story out of Norway. Essentially the editor of a magazine was strongarmed into groveling in front of the altar of Sharia.

Where does it all stop? You know Piglet from Whinnie the Pooh has been banned in an office in the UK. After all, it offends. Is Piglet now a "fighting cartoon"?

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

It is not the Christian Church or the Body of Christ that evolves, but rather it is the Christian Outlook that evolves.

The basic Christian Message that originated from Jesus Christ through the Original Church of the Apostles remain and shall stand forever. Even when pagan rituals and idol worship entered the church through the Roman Catholic Church, the Apostolic Church remained unblemished and continued separate from the Iglesia Apostolica Catolica Romana. Protestants and Evangelicals came from the unblemished Apostolic Church.

This unblemished church is founded on the love of Jesus Christ, a love beyond human comprehension that behooves a Christian not to fight fire with fire, in fact not to fight at all, but to turn the other cheek when punched or hurt by others.

We hold Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, but as I have said He is the most maligned Symbol of Faith or Religion in our world today. How did our outlook evolve? It cannot be helped actually because we now live in a GLOBAL VILLAGE. What happens in one part of globe affects the whole humankind. The DA VINCI CODE came out and its movie will soon be seen worldwide. How will Christians react? Well, there is only way: the message of Jesus Christ remains: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. FORGIVE THEM WHO PERSECUTE AND SAY VILE THINGS AGAINST YOU FOR THE SAKE OF THE NAME OF JESUS. But the outlook is now bigger because it should be addressed to the whole wide world.

Without Borders said...

Amen to that, mr ronquilo.

Rizalist said...

I really find it strange how FEW in the Philippine Media have even commented on this issue!


Question: Have there been any published carricatures of Christ by the Muslims that became cause celebre? I was told that a few Hollywood films and a Broadway play depicting Christ (which staunch Christians would brand blasphemous) were directly or indirectly financed by Jewish money.

By the way, I greatly appreciate BF Ronquillo's piece on Christian outlook. One remark though: the Anglican Church or the Church of England, which is Romana Catholica in many ways, is Protestant but am not too sure that it "came from the ublemished Apostolic Church."