Scott Tibbs
Sumbitted to the Illinois Daily Illini,
March 18th, 2006,

Back to Short Writings.

Daily Illini surrenders to terrorists.

To the Editor:

I am disappointed that those in charge at the Daily Illini have decided to fire the newspaper's editor-in-chief over his decision to run controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The excuse that he was fired for not consulting others in the newsroom is a thin smokescreen that anyone can see through.

The publication of these cartoons in Denmark has sparked riots around the world and has become a subject of fierce debate over the value of a free press. People have died at the hands of those who have reacted violently to the cartoons. This is a major news story, and the cartoons themselves are also news. Because this controversy is over a visual representation of Islam's main prophet, it is important to allow people to see the cartoons for themselves so they can form an educated opinion.

The Daily Illini has the right to decide what will or will not be published and has the right to decide who will work for that paper. Freedom of the press to publish what you find newsworthy also includes the right to not publish something. You have the right to require your employees to follow your rules and standards. I am not disputing your right to choose to go in a different direction with a new EIC.

However, it is unfortunate that the Daily Illini would cave to the pressure that came after publishing these "offensive" cartoons. A free press unrestrained by government still has little real freedom if fanatics and terrorists control what is published through violence and threats of violence.

The Daily Illini's decision is an example of why the "old media" is in danger of becoming irrelevant. In the age of the Internet, the "old media" no longer has the ability to filter information consumed by the masses.

Scott Tibbs