Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

A few weeks ago, The Beacon made a poor decision of publishing the Mohammad Cartoon. It offended many students and many, including myself, expressed their dislike with the editors’ decision to publish it. I was hesitant to write another letter to the editor since I felt it had no effect last time.,Is there a line for free speech?

Dear Editor,

A few weeks ago, The Beacon made a poor decision of publishing the Mohammad Cartoon. It offended many students and many, including myself, expressed their dislike with the editors’ decision to publish it. I was hesitant to write another letter to the editor since I felt it had no effect last time. However, I was obliged to express to the entire community my feelings of how The Beacon crossed the line, as I did in a letter addressed to the president of the SGA last week.

On March 2, The Beacon published the piece “Mohel practice may do more harm than good” which expressed disdain for the ultra-orthodox Jewish religious method of circumcision. I have no problem with anyone raising and challenging any topic, religious or other; the question is how.

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I believe this article did not deal with this in a fair way. It was disrespectful and short-sighted.

First, it manipulated facts to create a misleading lie saying that “Children’s lives are threatened-some 2,000-4,000 per year according to Jewish leaders”. This makes it sound as if those leaders actually said that. In reality, The New York Times article that the author based himself on, said: “. Orthodox rabbis who support the procedure say 2,000 to 4,000 such circumcisions are still performed each year in the city.”

This concern was addressed to the editor in chief, but a correction was not made [at that time].

Editor’s note: A clarification did not run last week because the error was brought to The Beacon’s attention at deadline. The clarification appears on page 2 this week.

In addition, they try to exercise one right (freedom of speech) in a hateful manner to call for the end of another (the freedom of religious practice).

Most troubling was a Photoshop-altered image of a Rabbi with a “no” symbol on his mouth. This was used for no other purpose but to mock innocent people and had no educational or intellectual value other than offending.

These are reckless actions that cross that line. A partial, serious and professional source of information that represents all of us should have a more responsible approach to avoid such happenings. In recent history, we have seen how hate and bigotry have been and still are promoted by the media and different free speech channels. I believe our school newspaper has done a good job, but these incidents ruin its reputation and the reputation of our school. The Beacon should not become a ground for personal attacks in a way that offend its own contributing students, who support it through SGA funds, or that in the end bring more harm than good.

Editors all over the world face similar decisions and they have a choice. Take Jyllands-Posten editor Carsten Juste, who originally published the Mohammad cartoons and later sent a letter of apology to the members of the Muslim community for the offense.

So, after forums, discussions and letters to the editor, our paper continues on this path? Why is it that it still cannot take responsibility and recognize that its actions are offending members of our community?

Let us stay above the line.

If you feel the same, I urge you to voice your opinion, write to The Beacon, SGA and me.

– Yoni Vendringer

Film major

Class of 2007

Deputy lifestyle editor’s open letter of resignation

Dear Editor,

I have chosen to resign from my position as deputy lifestyle editor on The Berkeley Beacon. This is due to the management’s decision not to apologize for hurting members of the Emerson community when the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad was published on Feb. 16.

A lot of thought and reflection has gone into my decision and I am saddened to leave The Beacon.

However, my principles fundamentally clash with those of the management and I have decided I cannot and will not work for an organization that is so inflexible.

At best, I feel the decision not to apologize is based on skewed journalistic principles, at worst it is based on the fact that the management is not sure they are even sorry for hurting people in the first place (at least that is what I have been told and what their behavior translates into).

I hope this controversy has been and continues to be a catalyst for positive change at The Beacon. Thank you for giving me a voice in the paper and I do appreciate how open The Beacon has been to criticism and opposition. Good luck to you all.

– Miriam Clithero

Print journalism major

Class of 2007