Jyllands-Posten Flemming Rose
Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands-Posten, poses in his office in Denmark, February 9, 2006.REUTERS/Erik Refner/Scanpix

The Danish editor who commissioned the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that triggered deadly protests in some Muslim countries has received a prize from Denmark's national press club.

Flemming Rose, who was the culture editor of right-wing daily Jyllands-Posten, outraged Muslims, provoking violent protests in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in 2005 when he published 12 satirical cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet.

For many Muslims, images of the Prophet are considered blasphemous.

These cartoons were later published in France by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of an Islamist attack in January that killed 12.

The Danish press club gave Rose its annual prize for "being a strong and central actor in the international debate about freedom of speech."

A debate about freedom

"For me, the debate I was drawn into almost 10 years ago by chance... is about tolerance and freedom," the former editor said at the awards ceremony.

Rose's decision to publish the caricatures was controversial in Denmark, and many in the press world criticised him for doing it.

"I see this as a sign that the debate in Denmark has shifted, but naturally also that the reality has changed," said the former editor, who still lives under police protection because of death threats made against him.

Controversial prize

This comes a week after Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who ignited outrage across the Muslim world in 2007 with his sketch of the Prophet as a dog, was given a prize by a Danish free speech group - viewed by some as being Islamophobic.

The artist narrowly escaped an attempt on his life when a Dane of Palestinian origin fired a series of shots outside the Copenhagen cultural centre where Vilks attended a debate on free speech.

A filmmaker was killed in the attack.