Ten years on: Editors reflect on Mohammed cartoon crisis

Carsten Juste, the then editor of Jyllands-Posten: Apologising would have made it worse

Ten years on from Jyllands-Posten’s publication of the drawings that sparked the Mohammed Cartoon Crisis, its former editor, Carsten Juste, has written an op-ed in the newspaper maintaining there is nothing to apologise for.

The anniversary also coincides with the publication on Monday of a book, ‘Hymne til friheden’ (hymn to freedom), by the paper’s culture editor at the time, Flemming Rose, in which he discusses freedom of expression.

Apology would have made it worse
In the months following the publication of the cartoons, a number of Muslim organisations at home and abroad demanded an apology for the offensive depictions of the religion’s prophet Mohammed. In Juste’s op-ed he concludes that any steps the paper could have taken to quell the outrage would have been turned against it, and ultimately made matters worse.

According to Juste, the whole project of publishing the drawings was about getting to grips with self-censorship, but this failed.

“Today we have to recognise that we achieved the exact opposite. There is more self-censorship than ever,” he said.

But Juste doesn’t regret his decision.

“To use a cliché that has become popular again: I wouldn’t have been able to look at myself in the mirror if I had refused to print them,” he said.