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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Daily Illini wrongly prints cartoons

Sometimes exercising the right of freedom of the press comes at a price.

Acton Gorton and Chuck Prochaska discovered that after they were suspended as editors of The Daily Illini, the newspaper of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for printing cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.

The cartoons have drawn international attention and incited violent protests throughout the Middle East and Asia. The Daily Illini became one of the few U.S. newspapers to reprint the drawings.

Considering the explosive results the cartoons have caused over the past weeks, as well as their offensiveness to Muslims, Gorton and Prochaska should have used better judgment when deciding whether to run the cartoons.

While the editors may have had justifiable intentions in wanting to show the public the illustrations that caused multiple deaths in the Middle East, the publications board had a good reason for removing the students from their positions.

The publication of the Muhammad cartoons in a university newspaper seems unnecessary.

Students or faculty interested in viewing the cartoons could have accessed them online and avoided offending the Muslim community surrounding the university.

A detailed description of the pictures could have sufficed as well.

While newspapers shouldn’t censor themselves simply to avoid offending a group of people, the gravity of the cartoon situation on an international level combined with good sense should have caused the editors to realize the serious consequences that could result from their decision and prevented them from publishing the drawings.

While Gorton said he consulted staff members and journalism instructors prior to making the publication decision, The Daily Illini ran an editorial apologizing for his decision.

A task force is investigating the communication surrounding Gorton’s decision.

The university was right to removed the editors for this insensitive printing.

Freedom of the press may give editors wide leverage, but a moral code is still necessary.

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