Singapore Bans Book About Censorship for Including Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Singapore Bans Book About Censorship for Including Charlie Hebdo Cartoons
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What you need to know

A book was banned over “offensive images” containing cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons were the same ones published in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

Singapore’s government on Monday banned a book on censorship over “offensive images” containing controversial cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The book, “Red Lines: Political Cartoons and the Struggle Against Censorship,” was deemed “objectionable” by the city-state’s Infocom Media Development Authority (IMDA), as it “contains offensive images that denigrate religions.”

”The offensive Charlie Hebdo cartoons first appeared in 2006 and have been widely labeled as irresponsible, reckless, and racist,” it said in a statement.

Islamists killed 12 employees of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015, following the publication of the images in the newspaper. After French President Emmanuel Macron last year defended the right to publish cartoons, angry protests broke out in Asia and the Middle East.

The book also contained denigratory references to Hinduism and Christianity, the IMDA said. Anyone convicted of importing, selling, distributing, making, or reproducing an objectionable publication will face a fine of up to 5,000 Singaporean dollars (US$3,700, €3,193), imprisonment of up to a year, or both. The regulator said the references violated the 1967 Undesirable Publications Act.

Singapore has sizable Muslim population

Singapore is majority ethnic Chinese but around 14% of the population is Muslim. The city-state has strict laws to curb hate speech and actions promoting ill-will between religious or racial groups.

The cartoons were first published in Denmark before appearing in Charlie Hebdo. Other murders in France have been linked to the caricatures, including the beheading one year ago of teacher Samuel Paty after he allegedly showed them to his students.

Written by Cherian George, a Singaporean ex-journalist and academic in Hong Kong, and cartoonist Sonny Liew, the book is a “lively graphic narrative” based on accounts of censorship and interviews with cartoonists, according to publisher MIT Press. George last week described the Singaporean government as “hyper-cautious” and said he and Liew “erred on the side of caution” by already “redacting the offending cartoons by strategically obscuring key details.”

This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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