The newly minted Editor-in-Chief at Charlie Hebdo – the French satirical magazine that was recently attacked by Islamic terrorists, resulting in the death of 12 innocent Parisians – was on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday to discuss terrorism, freedom of expression and more.
When Todd asked the new editor, Gerard Briard, what he thought about the decision of many America news outlets to blur the cover of their magazine, Briard responded perfectly to the prudish American media.
“Écoutez, (which means “listen up”) we cannot blame newspapers that already suffer much difficulty in getting published and distributed in totalitarian regimes for not publishing a cartoon that could get them at best jail, at worst death. On the other hand, I’m quite critical of newspapers published in democratic countries. This cartoon…is a symbol of freedom of religion, democracy, and secularism. It is this symbol that these newspapers refuse to publish. When they refuse to publish this cartoon, when they blur it out, when they decline to publish it, they blur out democracy, secularism, freedom of religion, and they insult the citizenship.”
Briard is 100% accurate. Now, in general, there is no need for American media to republish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons… but when they are the subject of international news, it is ridiculous that the cartoons are blurred out.
If the image is not suitable for all eyes, the media outlet could take the precaution of warning viewers or readers before hand. In that manner parents could choose to censor the images for their children, or Muslim viewers/readers could avoid the offending image. But to blur it out completely? That is the media choosing for Americans what we can and cannot see. And it’s not up to them.
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