Iranian protestors burn the emblem of the Norweigan embassy in Tehran, Iran after tearing it off the wall in protest over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad, February 7, 2006.
The head of Norway’s press association, whose life has been threatened by Muslims angered by satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, said on Tuesday the right to offend others was crucial to freedom of expression.
Amid spiraling unrest over the images, Per Edgar Kokkvold, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Press Association, told Reuters in an interview he was unafraid and would continue to defend the right to publish offensive material.
He neither drew them nor published them, but Kokkvold has been in the eye of a storm over the publication in Norwegian, Danish and other European newspapers of cartoons of the Prophet, which has ignited widespread rage in the Muslim world.
“It is important to defend not only freedom of expression but also the right to offend people, even if offending people is not always a beautiful sight,” Kokkvold said.
“People who live in our society have to realize that we have the right to our values and to our freedoms, including freedom of expression,” he said. “Without freedom of expression, you don’t have the other democratic rights either.”
One person’s offense is another person’s credo.
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