New York Times to cease political cartoons after anti-Semitism row

Editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version of the Times, in line with the US edition. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 June 2019
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New York Times to cease political cartoons after anti-Semitism row

  • The cartoon, published in April, depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump
  • It prompted an uproar within the Jewish community

NEW YORK: The New York Times has announced it will no longer include daily political cartoons in its international edition, weeks after apologizing for publishing a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deemed anti-Semitic.
The cartoon, published in April, depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump — who was wearing a kippah, or a Jewish skullcap.
It prompted an uproar within the Jewish community, with Israel’s ambassador to the UN likening the drawing to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer.
Editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to cease running political cartoons in the international print version of the Times, in line with the US edition.
The decision will come into effect on July 1, Bennet said in a Monday statement.
Patrick Chappatte, one of the paper’s leading cartoonists, said the decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.
He condemned the publication of the caricature at the center of the controversy but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.
“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists... lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his personal website.
Bennet said the newspaper hoped to keep working with Chappatte and fellow contributor Heng Kim Song on other projects.
New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger announced in May that the editor who published the cartoon would be disciplined.


Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

Updated 21 July 2019
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Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

  • Twitter said the accounts harassed people linked to the Baha’i faith
  • The Baha’i faith is a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran

WASHINGTON: A day after Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets, the social networking service said Saturday it acted after harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith.
Amid soaring tensions in the region, heightened by Iran’s seizure on Friday of a British-flagged tanker, some of the affected media outlets had speculated that the suspensions were related to their coverage of the seizure.
But Twitter cited what it said was the coordinated and targeted harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith, a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran.
It did not name the suspended accounts, and said it was continuing to investigate the matter.
“Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules,” read English-language messages on each of the Iranian media outlets’ accounts.
Mehr news agency, which is close to moderate conservatives in Iran, said its Farsi-language account appeared to have been blocked late Friday following its reports on the seizure of the tanker Stena Impero in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it seized the Swedish-owned tanker for breaking “international maritime rules” in the strait, a chokepoint for around a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.
Mehr’s Farsi-language Twitter page was inaccessible on Saturday, along with those of the official IRNA news agency and the agency of the Young Journalists’ Club.
“Since last night and after seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz the account of the Young Journalists’ Club and some other users have been suspended,” the YJC said on its website.
Mehr noted that its Mehr Diplomacy account, which publishes analysis and interviews on foreign policy, was also offline.
Another account taken down belonged to Ali Akbar Raefipoor, a hard-line public speaker.
None of the owners of the suspended accounts said they had been given any reason for the move by Twitter.
The micro-blogging platform is banned in Iran, but many officials still have accounts and people access them by using a virtual private network, or VPN, to bypass censorship.