In the name of Christ/Allah/Buddha/Krishna/whoever
Stop it already with this stupid nonsense over those bloody cartoons... Now some bright spark - aka the EU's Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini - seems to be caving in to the barmy religious fundamentalist brigade. He's called for a meeting of media leaders to be hosted by the Commission in May, the result of which he seems to have pre-determined:
"The press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right"At least he acknowledges that "any kind of unilateral imposition coming from institutions should be avoided", but what the hell? If the EU gets involved in the media in any way, shape or form it should be to enforce a complete lack of governmental interference in media content, breaking the ability of the likes of Silvio Berlusconi to build up propaganda machines to advance their dodgy political ends.
Of course, Frattini was Berlusconi's choice as Commissioner - after the original option, Rocco Buttiglione, had to withdraw after unsavoury, supposedly religiously-motivated comments about women and homosexuals.
Could this, despite nominally being aimed at diffusing the current cartoon controversy (which, following revelations that the offending scribbles were published in Egypt back in October looks more manufactured by the day), actually be another attempt by the EU's Italian contingent to protect the more old-fashioned aspects of Catholicism?
Back in November 2004, Buttiglione attempted to launch a campaign to highlight what he saw as an EU-wide discrimination against religions (i.e. Catholic) beliefs. He failed dismally in his efforts to start up a debate over the place of God and religion in a continent which has seen more than its fair share of religiously-motivated violence over the centuries. Could his replacement now be heading down the same route?