Reverberations from the 2015 killings at the Charlie Hebdo office persist, with cartoonists debating the responsibilities of satire and the dangers of censorship, while politicians who marched under “Je Suis Charlie” banners continue to clamp down on their own country’s journalists and political cartoonists.
Index on Censorship has just compiled a valuable international overview of the assault on free speech — with the Hebdo killings serving as its hub. Editor Rachael Jolley has brought together insightful, far-flung contributors like novelist Elif Shafak, journalist Hannah Leung, and Father Ted creator Arthur Matthews to examine the echoes, repercussions and contradictions of the Hebdo tragedy in Charlie Hebdo: A Global View.
Below, a few excerpts:
“Seen from the perspective of Latin America, the assault on Charlie Hebdo is both terrifying and familiar… over the last decade a slow massacre of journalists has been soiling, haunting, infecting Latin America, an almost invisible siege against press freedom. Not as dramatic or spectacular or on the fault-lines of Islam and the West as what happened with Charlie Hebdo, but nevertheless an assault that has been incessant and dreadful and methodical.” — Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman*
“It is a particular irony, then, that some of the government leaders who marched through Paris in January immediately demonstrated a distinctly partial commitment to the principles of free speech. Within a week of the killings, the French police had arrested 54 people for ‘defending or glorifying terrorism.’ Such glorification has been a crime in Britain since Labour passed legislation that would – in theory – scoop up anyone lauding the Boston Tea Party, the Irgun or the ANC.” — British playwright David Edgar*
“With such strict censorship in place, Chinese netizens rely heavily on coded languages … No incident exposed the fears of the Chinese government more than the banning of puns in late November 2014, a real decree from the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Print and broadcasters were urged to crack down on the ‘misuse of idioms,’ prompting witty headlines about the issue, including The Guardian’s: ‘China bans wordplay in attempt at pun control.’ Already so deprived of many tools of their trade, journalists and netizens now find themselves subjected to arbitrary indictment in their use of language itself.” — Hannah Leung*
*All excerpts from: IndexMagazine, “Charlie Hebdo: The Global View.”