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Artist, newspaper editor receive death threats over prophet cartoon

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is a WAN press release:

WAN Backs Swedish Publishers in Freedom of Expression Dispute

The World Association of Newspapers has condemned death threats made against a Swedish artist and a newspaper editor following publication of a drawing portraying the Prophet Mohammed as a dog.

WAN, the global association of the world's press, expressed support for the Swedish publishing community, which has rallied behind artist Lars Vilke and Editor Ulf Johansson of the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper, which published the cartoon (in early September 2007) to draw attention to threats to freedom of expression in Sweden.

The cartoon sparked angry reactions in the Arab world, culminating in a bounty being offered by Al Qaeda in Iraq for the murders of Mr Vilke and Mr Johansson.

"While appreciating that the publication of the drawing may have caused offence to many Muslims, WAN emphasizes that the Nerikes Allehanda enjoys full freedom of expression and that a choice to publish the drawing falls within that right and should be duly respected," the Paris-based WAN said.

Read the full statement at

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