Hanif Kureshi‘s National Short Story Prize-nominated story was supposed to be read on the BBC, but that didn’t happen after concluding that the broadcast timing of “Weddings and Beheadings” “would not be right” following unconfirmed reports that kidnapped BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston had been killed by a jihadist group, reports the Guardian. Kureshi hit back, saying he was angry at the decision, which he described as a result of “stupid thinking” on the part of BBC executives. “There are journalists and newspapers in peril all the time around the world. We support them by supporting freedom of speech rather than by censoring ourselves.”
Maureen Freely, best known as Orhan Pamuk‘s translator, is also shaking her head at the decision, calling it “doubly dishonest.” “First they ban the story and then they try to convince us that actually, they haven’t. First they broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of 1001 Baghdad bombs, and then they say we’re too delicate to consider the same hell from a different angle. But isn’t that what art is meant to do – challenge received opinion and make us think?”
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