Monthly Archives: January 2015

Irish Times Leads Nation’s Protest Over ‘Charlie’ But Forgets About Cartoon It Censored At Behest Of The Bishops

(I re-wrote the headline for this piece overnight as I thought the new version was more accurate and appropriate)

It was heartening to see the Irish Times leading the condemnation from Irish journalism of the brutal Jihadist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week and defending the right to free expression by participating in an international protest organised by Index on Censorship.

The “right to offend”, the paper opined, “must be defended with courage and vigour”.

However it would have been even more uplifting had the Times injected a note of regret in its commentary that it had failed to take its own advice to defend the “right to offend” with “courage and vigour” when last April its editors censored and withdrew from the internet a cartoon drawn by in-house cartoonist, Martyn Turner because it had offended senior members of the Irish Catholic hierarchy.

It seems that sauce for the Catholic goose is not sauce for the Islamic gander. is today reproducing Martyn Turner’s censored cartoon below and beneath that reprints yesterday’s commentary by the Irish Times followed by a news story in from last April explaining the background to the censoring of Martyn Turner.

Readers of this blog can then make their own judgement on the affair. This blog stands squarely behind the principle that all censorship is wrong and must be opposed no matter who urges or imposes it.

And needless to say: “Nous sommes tout Charlie!”

The Martyn Turner cartoon that was censored by The irish Times following complaints from the Archbishop of Dublin.

The Martyn Turner cartoon that was censored by The Irish Times following complaints from the Archbishop of Dublin.

The Irish Times view: Charlie Hebdo attack is a brutal assault on our freedom of expression

News organisations around the world show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo magazine

A drawing by Irish Times Cartoonist Martyn Turner in response to Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo.  A drawing by Irish Times Cartoonist Martyn Turner in response to Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The Irish Times is participating in an initiative organised by Index on Censorship and other press freedom campaigners to express revulsion at the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

Index, an international organisation that promotes and defends the right to freedom of expression, asked that publications around the world express their solidarity with their colleagues in Charlie Hebdo at 2pm.

We took part by leading with our editorial comment on the attack and Martyn Turner’s cartoon condemning the massacre.  In this cover, the newspaper called itself an irresponsible newspaper, and likening itself to a Neanderthal, claiming that the invention of humor is the process of adding fuel to the fire.


The massacre at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris was not only a barbarous act of terrorism but an assault on freedom of expression, one of the fundamental human rights. The murderers’ identities remain unknown but their motives are evident – to stifle through intimidation the expression of views they dislike and to provoke a disproportionate, polarising security response. They must not be allowed to succeed on either count.

A small-circulation magazine that often attracted more public condemnation than praise, Charlie Hebdo is part of a tradition of robust French satire that stretches back to before the revolution, when scandal sheets mocked the sex lives of the royal family.

Best known for its cartoons, Charlie Hebdo has caused offence to people of various political and religious beliefs but became notorious in recent years for lampooning Islam in ways that outraged many Muslims and drew accusations of racism. The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2011 after it published an entire edition mocking Islam and it faced more threats the following year when it carried a series of cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad; some of them depicting him naked.

Some of the criticism of Charlie Hebdo’s provocative satire was legitimate and its cartoons caused real offence to many people, some of them members of minorities already under pressure in France. It is one thing to argue about whether particular expressions of satire are appropriate or tasteful but quite another to claim a right not to be offended.

The massacre at the magazine’s offices was something of a quite different order and an outrage that cannot be tolerated in a democratic society – the attempt to silence a discordant voice through violence.

Regardless of the offence their work may have caused, the journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo had the right to publish it and they share no responsibility for the attack that killed them. Their murders must not be allowed to intimidate satirists elsewhere from tackling sensitive issues and their right to offend must be defended with courage and vigour.

The 12 dead and 10 injured were the primary victims of the attack but they were not the only ones. This was also an assault on Islam and on its adherents, the overwhelming majority of whom – in France and elsewhere – reject the bloodsoaked extremism of the gunmen. French Muslims are already the targets of hatred from Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, which is soaring in the polls.

This attack will make the situation of France’s Muslim community even more uncomfortable. Young men of Arab origin could bear the brunt of any heavy-handed security crackdown. The French authorities should exercise proper restraint as they carry out the important duty of bringing the perpetrators of this barbarous act of terror to justice.


Irish Times to explain why controversial cartoon was removed from website

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had said last week that priests were “hurt” by the cartoon’s publication.

Image: Priest via Shutterstock

Updated 9.54pm

THE IRISH TIMES is to publish an explanation in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper as to why a Martyn Turner cartoon was removed from its website.

The cartoon, which was published on Wednesday, was accessible at this link, but is no longer available.

It is also gone from the archive of Martyn Turner cartoons on the Irish Times website.

The cartoon showed three priests standing next to each other; the priest in the centre was holding a paper with ‘Children’s First Bill’ and ‘mandatory reporting’ written on it.

The Children’s First Bill was launched earlier this week, and will make it mandatory for certain professions and post-holders to report incidents of harm and the risk of harm to the Child and Family Agency.

The cartoon “hurt” many priests and lay people, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said on Thursday at the Pro Cathedral.

I know that many priests and people feel hurt by a cartoon in yesterday’s Irish Times. I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and of the vital role of satire in social criticism, but I object to anything that would unjustly tarnish all good priests with the unpardonable actions of some. We have great priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

When contacted by today, a staff member at the Irish Times said that an explanation for the removal of the cartoon will be published in tomorrow’s paper.

Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz And The Teenage Sex Slaves – Court Document In Full

It is not often that pays much heed to sex scandals, much less those involving under age victims. But when it is a case of the powerful abusing the weak, such as the Kincora scandal, then it becomes a different matter.

Such outrages are a matter of legitimate public interest and concern for they expose the reality of unequal power relationships in society. The ‘teenage sex slave’ scandal that has embroiled Prince Andrew falls into that category.

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, 'Jane Doe3' in the court papers

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, ‘Jane Doe3’ in the court papers

The figure at the centre of the scandal, Jeffrey Epstein (61) is a Wall Street billionaire who procured under age girls for sex with himself and a coterie of friends from the upper reaches of society. His friends were allegedly entertained at sex parties at luxury pads in London, New York and on a private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Jeffrey Epstein, Wall Street billionaire. Abused teenage sex slaves but got a lesser jail term than Ched Evans

Jeffrey Epstein, Wall Street billionaire. Abused dozens of teenage sex slaves but got a lesser jail term than Ched Evans

Epstein was eventually put on trial, was convicted but given a lenient sentence of just 13 months jail time (contrast this with the five years English soccer player, Ched Evans got for a disputed rape) while a non prosecution agreement (NPA) concerning other alleged assaults was negotiated with the US government on his behalf by Alan Dershovitz, the former Harvard law professor and staunch friend of Israel who, it now turns out, was also allegedly involved in the pedophile sex parties!

Pro-Israel advocate, Alan Dershowitz, negotiated a non-prosecution deal for Epstein but now accused of involvement in the abuse

Pro-Israel advocate, Alan Dershowitz, negotiated a non-prosecution deal for Epstein but now accused of involvement in the abuse

It is difficult not to look at the sordid details of Epstein’s treatment by the US legal authorities and find echoes of the leniency showed to the big banks involved in the 2008 financial collapse. One law for the super-rich, another law for the rest of us!

Another person who allegedly assisted in the negotiation of that NPA, according to court papers, was none other than Prince Andrew, eldest brother of the heir to the British Crown, who has been forced to abandon a skiing holiday at the Swiss resort of Verbier to return to Buckingham Palace to deal with the growing scandal.

Other characters in this burgeoning drama include Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of disgraced newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell and the French model scout Jean Luc Brunel. The latter pair are alleged to have played the role of pimps to Epstein, Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz.

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of media crook Robert Maxwell

Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of media crook Robert Maxwell

Meanwhile one of the two women who have laid these new charges, Virginia Roberts – known as ‘Jane Doe 3’ in the court papers – is quoted in the media this morning as saying she will not “be bullied back into silence”.

Here, below, is the full text of the complaint lodged with court authorities in South Florida. We shall see how this sordid affair turns out but as for those hoping to see Prince Andrew end up in the dock, well good luck with that!