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Free speech should respect religious beliefs: UN SG on cartoons controversy

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] said through a spokesperson Wednesday that freedom of expression should take into account respect for religious beliefs [press briefing transcript]. The comments come in response to the recent controversy over the reprinting [JURIST report] of a cartoon depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Ban's spokesperson added that the UN has made efforts to "promote greater cross-cultural understanding" among journalists.

The cartoon was reprinted by Jyllands-Poste [media website] and several other Danish newspapers last Wednesday, sparking renewed protests [JURIST report] over the cartoon's publication. The reprint, accompanied by statements defending freedom of speech, came one day after Danish police arrested three people [JURIST report] suspected in a plot to murder Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for his characterization of Muhammad [Le Monde slideshow; JURIST news archive] in cartoons first published in 2005. Reuters has more.

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