Pigs' faces censored in International New York Times news story

Identity of swine shrouded in secrecy

The blacking out of a herd of pigs in the Malaysian edition of the New York Times caused some confusion among international readers this week.

You could be mistaken for thinking that their faces were obscured out of respect for the pigs' privacy, that they were young swine and therefore entitled to anonymity, or even that they had been granted a super-injunction at some kind of porcine high court.

The real reason is much simpler (and less idiotic) however: pictures of pigs are not allowed in the Muslim country.

As representative for the newspaper's printing company Shah Alam told the Malay Mail Online: "We’ve been doing this for some time. We block out pictures of nudes and things like these. This is a Muslim country."

Although secular and multi-religious, around two thirds of Malaysia's population is Muslim.

Alam added that the printing firm censored the images, which ran alongside a front page story, of its own volition and was not instructed to do so by the authorities.

In other curious New York Times front page news-related news (yes, there's more), it emerged recently that the publication had an error on its cover every day for over 100 years.