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British Broadcasters Tiptoe Round the Muslims
by David J. Rusin • Apr 15, 2008 at 9:16 am
Self-censorship has been on the rise in recent years, with cultural elites bending over backwards to forestall hurt Muslim feelings. Now Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, has warned that broadcasters must guard against the temptation to treat Islamic issues with kid gloves:
Thompson averred that his network practices what he preaches. "There is no point having a BBC which isn't prepared to stand up and be counted," he said, contending that the Beeb subjects Islam to just as much scrutiny as it does other religions.
British comedian Ben Elton would beg to differ. One week earlier, the co-writer of the legendary Blackadder series sharply criticized the BBC for what he described as its oversensitivity toward Islam:
Specifically, he claims to have been told not to use the phrase "Mohammed came to the mountain," a play on the old proverb. But Elton argues that the real offense is treating Muslims like children:
Even to a comedian, the harm that self-censorship inflicts upon both Muslims and non-Muslims is no laughing matter.