Few reasons exist behind the BBC’s change of policy besides radical Islamist . Hostility against Western media for publishing “Islamo-sensitive” material (or even suggesting such) has triggered violent responses across the Muslim world from Manchester to Malaysia. The fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie’s harm after publishing The Satanic Verses 1989, Theo van Gogh’s murder in 2004, the worldwide riots after the Jyllands-Posten lampooning of Mohammed in 2005, and death threats sent to Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park earlier this year are all symptomatic of the free speech's assault by radical religion (Islam in particular). What is increasingly disconcerting is the West’s submissive response to totalitarian intimidation.
For the proper functioning of democracy, citizens must engage in a bountiful marketplace of ideas; agents of the free press must brave opposition to market wares. The trend in the West in recent years, however, has been towards treading on eggshells by self-censoring in order to avoid further infuriating those who already abhor our liberties.
The BBC has cowardly submitted to radical demands rather than uphold the tenets of free conscience and expression. Out of fear of breaking eggs, they forgo omelets. They have fallen into lockstep with the Western media’s spineless avoidance of all things Islam, thus quashing all manner of discussion over a critical world issue. This step towards self-censorship has changed the BBC’s motto of “Nation shall speak peace unto nation” into “Nations shall speak appeasement unto Islam”.
Having joined the invertebrate community and succumbed to the threat of violence, what’s next for the BBC? Will they ban their comedians from poking fun at the French (a classic BBC pastime) for fear of cross-channel retribution? Will they pull David Attenborough because his espousal of evolution by natural selection does not sit well with creationists, Muslim, Christian, and Jew alike? Will they omit reports on Vatican pedophilia charges so as to avoid insulting Catholics?
The bottom line is: where does it end? Major media outlets have demonstrated that violence or the threat thereof is sufficient to break the back of Western values. At this rate of inch-giving we will soon run out of miles for them to take. Once freedom of expression falls, what liberty we hold dear will be next? (Freedom of religion comes to mind.) John Stuart Mills wrote that "To address the growing impingement of liberty by radical religion, democratic citizens must discuss all opinions no matter how impartial.