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Cardinal Calls For Artists To Exercise ‘Self-Censorship’

posted on 21 December 2004
Speaking tonight on the BBC 6 o'clock television news, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said he regretted that a play in Birmingham which has offended Sikhs was forced to close through violence.

He said there was a balance to be kept between freedom of speech and the sensitvity which artists need to show to deeply-held religious values.

The Cardinal said playwrights sometimes needed to exercise greater “self-censorship”.

His remarks formed part of an interview which is to be shown in full tomorrow evening at 6.30 pm on the 6 o’clock news (BBC TV).

Transcript of the clip follows.

“There’s a balance to be kept here between freedom – which is rightly cherished in this country: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom for playwrights to make points – but there is also, it seems to me, some kind of self-censorship, that playwrights, too, have to realise that some things they say could be very offensive to people and therefore not write in such a vein.”

So you would encourage playwrights to have a certain degree of self-censorship?

“Yes I think so, I think so. On matters that are particularly sensitive.”
Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860
posted on 21 December 2004

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