Most importantly of all, I would like to thank you all for your great support over the last two weeks. All those working for IMI – myself included – devote a lot if not most of their free time to cover interesting events and write meaningful content for you to enjoy. It is our readership that makes this all worthwhile, and I know I speak not only for myself if I say that I am pleasantly surprised and deeply honoured that this many people are already reading our work.
On the 5th of April, the semi-official launch date of iminternational.nl, your views exceeded 500 without any form of marketing. We are very happy to have you as our viewership. Thank you.
We have three more articles coming up in the next week or so. Please like and share them as always; it helps us out massively. Most of our staff is also working on a long-term project. I cannot give you any real hints as of now, but I am sure it will be a shocking revelation!
Now for the reason why I am writing you directly. I do not normally believe it is the job of an editor to mingle in politics. However, when the values and principles which allow us to do our work, and you to engage in free discussions on the internet and elsewhere, are threatened, I have no choice but to speak up.
You probably are familiar with the Böhmermann case. Jan Böhmermann, a well-known German television satirist caused a diplomatic crisis when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Böhmermann’s recent work offended him deeply. It is illegal in Germany to offend foreign heads of state, and after great pressure from Turkey, Chancellor Merkel allowed an inquiry into the poem and a video titled Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan.
Mrs Merkel has said she wants to revise the law, but as of now it still stands, meaning that Jan Böhmermann may possibly be convicted.
Here’s a little taste of what Böhmermann wrote about President Erdogan. The poem itself, unfortunately, has been taken offline.
I am not saying you should find the video sharp, ironic or even slightly amusing. It is, however, clear that free speech is under threat in Germany and in many other countries in Europe. Regardless of what you think of the video, do we really want the government to decide what we are (not) allowed to say? Or, in this case, have a foreign head of state, who is known for curbing free speech in his own country, to prevent German citizens from speaking their mind? Personally, I expect a thicker skin from world leaders.
Is this music video insulting? I think so, yes. But it is also a political opinion that should be protected by our governments. Sometimes an opinion can be insulting to others. Böhmermann and myself find Erdogan’s actions repulsive and deeply insulting. Does he not have the right to retaliate in his capacity as a TV satirist?
Feel free to disagree. I am looking forward to a lively Facebook discussion. However, if you want to voice your opinion and possibly help Böhmermann, who has been placed under police protection, please feel free to sign this petition.
Your grateful editor-in-chief
—-This article was amended on 23/04/16 to change a misspelling of “Böhmermann” —