Danish newspaper Politiken has announced a settlement in the controversial Mohammed cartoon case, with the new agreement reached with descendants of the Prophet including an apology for any offence caused by the depictions. Politiken has become the first newspaper to do so, much to the dismay of fellow media publications.
Politiken reached the agreement with legal representatives of 94,923 descendants of Mohammed who were represented by eight organisations. Toger Seidenfaden, Editor-in-Chief for the newspaper, claimed that the open dialogue was the way forward and did not represent a selling out of the ideals of freedom of speech.
“The settlement looks ahead and expresses very sensible views. It may possibly reduce the tensions that have shown themselves to be so resilient. It gives us hope that relations between Denmark, and not least its media, and the Muslim world can be improved,” said Seidenfaden
Lawyer Faisal Yamani, the lawyer who entered into the agreement representing the descendants called the settlement good. “This is a good settlement. It would be wrong to speak of a victory. Both parties have reached the point where they understand the background to what has happened. Politiken is courageous in apologizing, even though it was not their intention to offend anyone,” said Yamani.
Danish politicians, however, have condemned the move. Social Democratic head Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “It’s crazy. The media carries offensive material every day. That is what freedom of speech is about,” while Socialist People’s Party Leader Villy Sovndal argued that “freedom of speech is not up for negotiation”.
Pia Kjaersgaard, the Danish People’s Party Leader, said she was speechless at the absurdity of the situation. “It is deeply, deeply embarrassing that Toger Seidenfaden has sold out of Denmark’s and the West’s freedom of speech. I cannot distance myself enough from this total sell-out to this doctrine,” said Kjaersgaard.