Is there such thing as misuing ‘Freedom of Speech?’

My thoughts are with the victims families of yesterdays attack in Paris. I do not support violence or anything bad against anyone as this is clearly something that has been taking out of hand. I strongly disagree that they deserved this as killing should not be justified.

The paper has been victim to two terrorist attacks including a fire bombing which happened in 2011 and the shooting massacre on 7th January 2015 during their weekly editorial board meeting.  This was now the second upset from few years ago.

However my concerns lie within the argument of ‘Freedom of speech’. Reading many articles today that have thrown around phrase. As a journalist this is what is to be applied to our work…

  • European Convention on Human Rights Article 10 (Freedom of expression) states 1)Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
  • 2)The exercise of these freedoms since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in democratic society, in the interest of national, security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or right of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence or for maintaining the authority and impartially of the judiciary.
  • The Editor’s Code of practise 12) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individuals race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
  • ii) Details of an individuals race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Now the question lies on whether Charlie Hebdo went too far with the comical satire papers that were being produced all of these years. Some will say yes, some will say no they have the right of Freedom of Expression. From viewing some of the work, it seems it goes a little beyond satire, whilst they’re claiming to attack all religions equally Muslim’s seem to get it quite a bit. Although I would go onto say that the Muslim community do not accept this kind of behaviour and doesn’t reflect on the real Muslim trait of ‘Peace’.  The paper itself is labelled  as anti-religious as well as publishing on Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Politics and culture according to to former editor Stephane Charbonnier.

However it is clear the paper did go to the extreme on their freedom of expression, but this does not mean someone has to kill them as there are other means of resolving situations or protesting. I believe criticism should come at the angle of whether they were taking responsibility with their freedom of speech. As a general member of the public they will see it as farce, but there is an extent on what you should publish in order to keep your readers happy and generally not to be offensive to other people who may not have the same views as yourself. I have yet to see Muslims go around making fun of other people or religions because they are clearly not like that and what happened yesterday is a bad representation of them.

I would go on to say that we should all join in condemning the killing of the cartoonists but opposing on the kinds of cartoons they published weekly as they can be seen as offensive. I hope that in the future we do not have to experience such horrific events.

Below are some examples of some of what has previously been published.




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