From the Guardian's letters today:
It's time for the Guardian and other newspapers to stand up firmly for freedom of expression and to show us the offending cartoons.
So freedom of expression is protected by demanding that a particular item is published regardless of whether the publication thinks it should or not, apparently. To be honest, I find the whole furore really rather ridiculous, because all of those most exercised about it have lost sight of an important point, that it is an essential part of any given freedom to have the freedom to do wrong, or else the freedom in question rather collapses. I've not seen the cartoons, and have no desire to see them, but what I understand from other people's discussion of them, they're really rather gratuitously offensive. That doesn't necessarily mean that it should be illegal to publish them: I might favour preventing publishing them if they were an incitement to racial hatred, but even if I'd seen them, I wouldn't really be in a position to judge that. That they are gratuitously offensive may of course mean that those who published them, initially at least, did something wrong in doing so, and consequently that condemnations of them for doing so would be entirely justified. People would be entitled to criticise someone for infidelities, but not establish legal prohibitions against them. The analogy with this situation is surely, ignoring for the time being Millian questions of the point at which general social action comes to have the same moral standing as a law, perfect.
Addendum, 05/02/06: Everyone, grow the f*ck up. This is not interesting. No one in countries which generally respect freedom of speech has been prevented, by the law, from publishing the cartoons, nor has anyone in such countries been prosecuted for doing so. Some people have exercised their right to freedom of speech to complain about the cartoons. So far, freedom of speech is not obviously being threatened. A really rather small number of the people who protested about the cartoons in Britain did so in a manner which any sane person would unreservedly condemn, and have been widely condemned for it, and will probably also be the subject of a police investigation to see whether they broke laws on incitement to violence, which, as no legal expert, I suspect they did. This is not a remotely serious threat to freedom of speech either. Alright, some repressive regimes doubtless desperate for any crumb of legitimacy have scrambled rather undignifiedly onto the bandwagon, but was there freedom of speech in any of these places in the first place, or indeed, was this much of a surprise? Hardly.
Addendum Addendum, 05/02/06: What Jamie said. And Chris too. Finally, what Ken said (now everywhere, but originally seen via)