One of Sweden's biggest newspapers Svenska Dagbladet, decided already from the beginning, before the media hysteria, not to publish the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad*. Chief editor Lena K Samuelsson writes in her editorial on Saturday, february 11th with the title:
"Freedom of press is also the right to disregard"
Furthermore she writes:
One can think what one likes about Jyllands-Posten's publication or presumed less noble motives, but they did make use of the right to publish whatever they want. A basic right in a free and open society.
Svenska Dagbladet defends that right, we promote a spirited discussion and debate with room for a lot. However with the right to publish whatever we feel as being of importance, the right and responsibility to disregard (certain materials for publication) follows.
Without influence from the outside.
The caricatures depict a tired stereotype of a "dangerous stranger". It was actually not a difficult decision to disregard them for publication, not last autumn in correlation to Jyllands-Postens publication of them, nor now either.
On "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" (CNN) today, an interview with a tired yet spirited Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, we could hear similar tones, for the first time, coming from the State of Denmark.
While defending the freedom of expression and press, Fogh Rasmussen reiterated time and again, the responsibility that comes with such a right.
From the start of this debate, there has been a tepid response from the leaders of Denmark and Europe regarding the nature of the publication of the caricatures. Indeed, the media is separated from the press (with exception of Berlusconi's empire), and thus the real object of debate from the Muslim side has not and should not have been the idea of the state controlling the media, but in the words of Voltaire;
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."-
Voltaire himself, after writing a play called “Mahomet, ou le Fanatism”, experienced some censorship. And ironically it is his words today that echo in the current debate surrounding the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad*.
However we never heard Fogh Rasmussen or French Finance Minister Sarkozy say the first, most important part of the quote they continuously base their arguments on. A quote from a person like Voltaire that French, and later, European democracy and freedom of speech were built on;
"Jyllands-Posten, I disapprove of what you say..."
*Peace and blessings be upon him