The New Age is Yellow

Following the wake of the ‘Muhammad cat’ cartoon controversy, a number of depresing events have transpired:

No lawyer has dared come forward to defend the cartoonist Arifur Rahman from the charge of sedition and blasphemy.

No newspaper or journal has defended Prothom Alo’s freedom to publish the cartoon. Instead opportunistic journos with personal axes to grind have condemned the cartoon as “anti-Islamic” and an “insult to the Prophet”.

The New Age, for example. Once known as a liberal and progressive organ, has got caught up, it seems, in the journalistic tragedy of selling-out to clerical fascists with the publication of this Khilafist capitulation:

Alpin’s controversial cartoon seems to have been a product of the pseudo-liberal minds and the editorial authorities of the daily have rightly offered unqualified public apology for hurting the ‘religious sentiment’ of the Muslims at large. And that the Prothom Alo authorities do not subscribe to the pseudo-liberal idea of the cartoonist was also apparent, at least for now, in the administrative measures that they took against the person/s responsible for publishing the cartoon. The government, on the other hand, has justifiably confiscated the particular issue (September 17) of the fun magazine, and taken legal steps as regards the cartoonist. The matter should end here, while the cartoonist, already arrested, should be ensured justice within the framework of the law of the land.

The New Age is happy to follow the path of least resistance and prop up the fallacious assertion that the Alpin cartoon was anti-Prophet (SAW). Anyone with even a fleeting knowledge of Bengali Muslim culture knows that this is spurious. For New Age to support this view is simply cheap pamphleteering.

We know of the simpatico of New Age’s Farhad Mazhar towards Hizbut Tahrir. Perhaps they should publicly admit to these ersatz “liberal” alliances. It might help to dilute the deep yellow colour of its journalism just a little.

My fear is that the future of the rest of Bangladeshi journalism is as yellow as the New Age because not one has yet denounced the jailing of the cartoonist nor called for his release. Arifur Rahman must not be made a scapegoat and must be freed.

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    Is this the state of journalism in Bangladesh? Newspapers are cowed down, scared as shit and attacking each other for a few blessings from the Khatib. How very tragic.

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