Cowardice: Sky News Refuses to Show Mohammed Pic

Sky News censors interview with former Charlie Hebdo writer who shows picture of Mohammed; UK media 'betrays journalism'.

Ari Soffer ,

The "offensive picture": Cover of latest issue of Charlie Hebdo
The "offensive picture": Cover of latest issue of Charlie Hebdo

Many journalists throughout Europe showed their solidarity with Charlie Hebdo last week, by republishing its cartoons and proclaiming "Je Suis Charlie" on their front covers - a poignant show of defiance following last Wednesday deadly attack which saw much of the magazine's editorial staff decimated in a bloody attack by Islamist terrorists at its central Paris office.

However, many other journalists and media outlets refused to do so, citing concerns that such images might "offend" Muslims and possibly lead to attacks on their own staff. Those sentiments were in turn criticized by many as self-censorship, and a capitulation to Muslim extremism.

Nowhere has such an attitude been more apparent than in the UK, where mainstream newspapers, TV channels and other outlets have totally refused to republish Charlie Hebdo's cartoons - and in particular those portraying the founder of Islam, Mohammed.

Speaking to the UK's Sky News Wednesday night, former Charlie Hebdo writer Caroline Fourest took the British media to task for "betraying journalism" through its refusal to stand up for free speech in the face of Islamist extremism - and was treated to yet another demonstration of the very betrayal she slammed.

"I am very sad that journalists in the UK do not support us; that journalists in the UK betray what journalism is all about, by thinking that people can not be grown (up) enough to decide if a drawing is offen(sive) or not," Fourest said.

"It is completely crazy that in UK you cannot show a simple drawing like this, with Mohammed..." she continued, holding up the front cover of Charlie Hebdo's recent "survivors'" edition, which has seen record sales throughout Europe following the murders.

At that point, as the cameraman pans his camera upwards in a desperate bid not to show the picture Mohammed, the nervous-looking news anchor cuts the interview short, apologizing to Muslim viewers profusely.

"At Sky News we have chosen not to show that cover so we will appreciate Caroline, er, not showing that. I do apologize to any of our viewers who may have been offended by that," she says, adding that Sky News had made "an editorial decision not to feature the cover of Charlie Hebdo." 

Viewers took to social media to vent their astonishment and anger at the display of moral cowardice, with prominent anti-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz - himself a moderate Muslim activist - labeling it an illustration of "the Great Liberal Betrayal in action".

It's not the first time a British media outlet has been criticized for its response to the Paris terror attacks.

On Sunday, a BBC reporter came under fire after choosing to hector a Jewish woman at the major Paris solidarity rally, downplaying her concerns about anti-Semitism by saying that "the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands."

Watch: BBC reporter's "anti-Semitic" hectoring of Jewish woman in Paris

Many British Jews will see the two clips as effectively illustrating a commonly-made complaint of double-standards between the way their media treats Muslim and Jewish sensitivities respectively.