Flemming Rose

Flemming Rose

Foreign Affairs Editor
The Cato Institute

Flemming Rose (b. 1958) is a Danish author, journalist and editor, most widely known for his role in the 2005 Danish cartoon controversy, which sparked a larger conflict in Europe about freedom of the press, tolerance, and Islam. While working as culture editor for Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, Rose commissioned artists to create depictions of Muhammad. The cartoons sparked protests, embassy burnings, death threats, and some 200 people died across the globe in relation to the incident.
Rose defended his decision and dismissed the charge of publishing “offensive” content, saying: “As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate
as an insult and punish the offenders….The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.”
Rose authored a book, Tyranny of Silence, which discusses the cartoon controversy, his time reporting in the Soviet Union, and the importance of free speech to a free and liberal society. Rose sees free speech as a crucial element in combating authoritarianism. His stated purpose in publishing the cartoons was, in part, to demonstrate that censorship was already well underway in Western Europe, but that people generally weren’t aware of it.
Rose is now an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, and regularly participates in conferences, panels, and lectures regarding free speech as an essential global value.

Blog Posts

Free Speech, Muhammad Cartoons, and Islamism in Europe: Dave Rubin’s Interview with Flemming Rose

“I didn’t choose this fight. It was imposed upon me eleven years ago, when I was the editor responsible for publication of the so-called Danish Muhammad cartoons. “

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Free Speech Includes Religious Satire (Mohammed Cartoons and All)

Flemming Rose shares his vision of an inclusive society with free speech and religious satire for all. This is why he published the “Danish Mohammed Cartoons.” Watch the full interview 

The Danish Mohammed Cartoon Controversy and Free Speech

Do Islamic extremists pose a real threat to free speech? Danish journalist Flemming Rose published 3 cartoons of Mohammed to find out. Watch the full interview

Free Speech Can Beat Bad Ideas (And Criminalization Can’t)

Dutch journalist and free-speech advocate Flemming Rose says he’s never seen anyone change their bad ideas because they were criminalized. Watch the full interview

Free Speech, Even for Richard Spencer

Should alt-right leader Richard Spencer have the right to speak without getting punched?  Danish journalist Flemming Rose says toleration demands it. Read Flemming Rose’s op-ed (with Joseph Mchangama) on fake news…