Tuesday, September 9, 2008

SMH self-censors Islam comments in video

In a a small but very worrying sign that some areas of debate have become off-limits in our society, 10 seconds of audio go mysteriously missing in a video hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald. The SMH is a co-sponsor of a series of public debates called Intelligence Squared, and hosts the videos on its site. 33 minutes into the debate on the controversial subject, "We'd be better off without religion", SMH columnist Richard Ackland is speaking for the affirmative, and brings up the subject of the chilling effect religion has on art and free speech.
Art that satirizes or even mocks religious sensibility is to be tossed on the fire and the artists flayed. More recently Random House has decided not to publish "The Jewel of Medina", for fear it may incite acts of violence. The book is described as an..."
10 seconds of silence follows as Mr Ackland continues. The audio resumes with the line "it's difficult stuff, but nothing a suicide bombing couldn't fix." If this is deliberate - and an audio glitch occuring at just this point in the debate seems a mighty coincidence - it rates a 10/10 on the irony-meter, doesn't it?

Watch the video here.

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