Skip to comments.Editors apologise for offence over publication of cartoons
Posted on 02/08/2006 1:21:22 AM PST by NZerFromHK
The editors of The Dominion Post and The Press have apologised for the offence caused after they published pictures of the prophet Mohammed.
A group of 17 news executives and religious leaders met in Wellington this afternoon over the fall-out from the publication of caricatures first published in Denmark.
The two newspaper editors told the meeting they did not set out to insult or offend Muslims, and both have apologised.
However, they have not resiled from the decision to publish the cartoons in the first place.
Federation of Islamic Associations president Javad Khan says the meeting has opened up dialogue between religious groups and the media.
Mr Khan says its outcome is likely to mitigate some of the negative impacts the publication of the cartoons has had for New Zealand in Islamic communities, including New Zealand's cause with Iran.
Exporters are concerned Muslim countries may boycott goods from New Zealand as a result. New Zealand's trade with Islamic countries is worth about $1.5 billion.
Mr Khan says discussions he had earlier with Iran's ambassador to New Zealand were positive. He says the ambassador indicated he would be sending a positive report back to the committee reviewing trade deals. Aim of meeting to establish dialogue
This afternoon's meeting between media representatives and Muslim leaders was set up by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres to establish dialogue between the two groups.
Mr de Bres said earlier he was delighted at the willingness of the two sides to get together at short notice to discuss the issue. Diplomatic talks with ambassador 'positive'
The Government also says a diplomatic meeting with the Iranian ambassador earlier in the day was positive.
The head of the Middle Eastern division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade met Iranian Ambassador Kambiz Sheikh-Hassani in Wellington this morning.
Trade Minister Phil Goff says the ambassador was aware that the decision to print the cartoons in this country was made by individual media, and was not the responsibility of the Government or exporters.
Mr Goff says the ambassador has reported that back to his government in Tehran. He says the ambassador is also aware of the Government's view that nothing should be done to demean anybody's religious or cultural beliefs. International appeal for calm
Three leading international bodies have appealed for calm in the row over the caricatures.
The call by the United Nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the European Union comes after warnings from Denmark the controversy has developed into a global crisis.
The three organisation expressed alarm that the violent protests that have been taking place in Muslim countries, saying they damage the image of peaceful Islam.
In a joint statement, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana; and OIC head Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu called for restraint from all sides.
"We believe freedom of the press entails responsibility and discretion, and should respect the beliefs and tenets of all religions. But we also believe the recent violent acts surpass the limits of peaceful protest," they said.
The statement came as Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a resolution "through dialogue, not violence". Holocaust lampooned in Iranian newspaper
Iran's best-selling newspaper has launched a competition to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust.
The Iranian daily Hamshahri says the contest is in retaliation for the publication of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
The paper claims the contest is designed to test the boundaries of free speech - the reason given by many newspapers for publishing the cartoons.
A Jewish human rights organisation says it is typical of the Muslim press to retaliate with a cartoon competition about the Holocaust.
The director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem, Ephraim Zuroff, told Morning Report the contest will cause great offence although the cartoons are unlikely to be taken seriously in the west.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said the western media's publication of the cartoons is an Israeli conspiracy motivated by anger over the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections. Protests continue around the world
- In Afghanistan, NATO sent British reinforcements to a riot-hit town after crowds protesting at the cartoons attacked peacekeepers. The move came after three protesters died as they tried to storm the town's Norwegian-led peacekeeping base. Norway's defence ministry says five of its nationals were hurt in the riot.
- About 5,000 people took to the streets in Peshawar, in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, on Tuesday in protest at the cartoons. Protests were also held in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
- Denmark says it holds Iran responsible after its Tehran embassy was attacked on Monday. The embassy was pelted with petrol bombs and stones for a second day on Tuesday.
- Norway demanded compensation from Syria after its embassy in Damascus was set on fire on Saturday.
- Hundreds of Muslims gathered in Cotabato, in the southern Philippines, demanding that Denmark punish the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for publishing the cartoons.
Just for a point of reference since i never vist du, are those folks over ther bothered at all by this attempt to force a theocracy on Europe, the place they see as the last bastion of hope for the way govt should be run?
Where is the statement from People for the American Way about the threat posed to freedom by all this, or what has the ACLU said?
The editors had some difficulty, however, in making themselves heard inasmuch as they were prostrate on their bellies at the time.
Sir, you may have a serious future in public relations.
New Zeland has long been a spineless recluse on the world scene. Nothing has changed. What they do or say has no impact whatsoever.