Australian newspaper apologises for offensive cartoon

A cartoon published in the Sydney Morning Herald that linked the Jewish faith with the Israeli rocket attacks on Gaza has breached the Australian Press Council’s standards.

The cartoon by Glen Le Lievre was published in July last year alongside a column by veteran writer Mike Carlton. The reaction to the cartoon and the column resulted in Carlton’s sudden resignation.

Six months later, the press council has ruled that the cartoon caused greater offence to readers than was justifiable in the public interest.

The cartoon depicted “an elderly man with a large nose, wearing the distinctively Jewish head covering called a yarmulke, and sitting in an armchair emblazoned with the Star of David”, the council said. “He was pointing a TV remote control device at an exploding cityscape, implied to be Gaza.”

“A linkage with Israeli nationality might have been justifiable in the public interest, despite being likely to cause offence,” the ruling said. “But the same cannot be said of the implied linkage with the Jewish faith that arose from inclusion of the yarmulke and the Star of David.”

The newspaper told the council after complaints were made against the cartoon that, in hindsight, it agreed that it had placed gratuitous emphasis on the Jewishness of its subject “and in doing so, had inappropriately emphasised religious persuasion rather than Israeli nationality, thereby causing offence”.

The newspaper said in its defence that it had published a 650-word apology a week later. It stood by the column but insisted Carlton apologise to readers he had offended in emails. “The images from Gaza are searing, a gallery of death and horror,” Carlton had written. “A dishevelled Palestinian man cries out in agony, his blood-soaked little brother dead in his arms.”

After the column Carlton received a torrent of abuse on Twitter and in emails from people who were angered by his views. &ndah; © Guardian News & Media 2015

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Tension over who’s boss of courts

In a letter, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questions whether Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has acted constitutionally

SABC sued over ‘bad’ clip of Ramaphosa

A senior employee at the public broadcaster wants compensation for claims of ‘sabotage’

Soundtrack to a pandemic: Africa’s best coronavirus songs

Drawing on lessons from Ebola, African artists are using music to convey public health messaging. And they are doing it in style

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories