A conversation about the challenges to free expression

Courtesy of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, the video of the forum on free expression and Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday morning.

Join us for a conversation about the challenges to free expression in France and Europe, the role of satire in open societies, the controversies that have surrounded Charlie Hebdo, and the tensions between respect for religious differences and protections for freedom of expression.

Charlie Hebdo’s recently appointed editor-in-chief, Gérard Biard, and its film critic, Jean-Baptiste Thoret, are visiting the United States for the first time since the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, which killed eight of their co-workers and four others. On the evening of Tuesday, May 5, they will receive the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Free Expression Courage Award at the PEN American Center’s annual Literary Gala in New York.

Panelists include the director of NYU’s Institute of French Studies, Ed BerensonCharlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gérard Biard; PEN Executive DirectorSuzanne Nossel; and Charlie Hebdo film critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret. Journalist Maggy Donaldson will moderate.

Presented by the PEN American Center and NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute.

H/t Salty Current


  1. says

    Something I didn’t catch fully during the discussion were the comments in Jean-Baptiste Thoret’s response to the question about other media outlets deciding whether or not to publish the CH cartoons. He says it’s very easy to reflexively judge the actions of people in different contexts, and he’s reluctant to do so; he thinks people should make more of an effort to understand another culture and its constraints before judging decisions made by people in that culture. It’s an approach the PEN protesters should consider.

    He’s quite right to recognize that the decision not to publish in the US for many might have been based not (or not only) on ignorance or fear, but on, for example, the belief that it’s right to show deference to religion, or just the acknowledgement that most of their readers or viewers feel that way. (Obviously I don’t share or accept that belief and think the deference has to go, but it is a major part of the cultural environment.)

    In good news, Norway repealed its blasphemy law (which hasn’t been used in decades, but it’s a good symbolic gesture).

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