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Free speech on trial in Paris February 8, 2007

Posted by franklittle in Freedom of speech, Islam, media, Media and Journalism, The Left.

The never less than outstanding Lara Marlowe reports from Paris in today’s Irish Times on the trial of Philippe Val, editor of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

Last year, Val chose to publish two of the cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that had first appeared in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. He did this as a show of solidarity with the newspaper, and also with the editor of France Soir, one of the country’s leading newspapers, who was fired for similarly publishing the cartoons in solidarity. Indeed, off the top of my head I think Ireland was the only EU country where not a single newspaper chose to publish the cartoons in support of free speech.

Val is being sued for defamation by the The Grand Mosque, World Islamic League and Union of French Islamic Organisations, an action that has united the French Left and Right in support of free speech. One of Val’s lawyers read out a letter of support from right-wing Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy saying ‘I prefer an excess of caricature to the absence of caricature.’

Francois Hollande, head of the French Socialist Party and wife of their candidate Segolene Royal, took the stand in support of Val, pointing out that if the magazine is convicted of insulting Islam, ‘newspapers will think twice before publishing articles or drawings, and in a way, censorship will have been established.’

Meanwhile, the Germans continue to push their daft plan to criminalise people for arguing that the Holocaust didn’t take place at EU level and some of the geniuses in the Irish left, especially the so-called left in the SWP, argue for the erosion of civil liberties as part of their campaign against ‘hate speech’. Genuine radicals will remember, as this article in the Weekly Worker on the SWP’s campaign against a ballerina with a BNP membership card points out, that structures of censorship once established, are very easily turned on the left, and historically, far more likely to be used in such a manner.

See Reuters here for more details if you don’t have an Irish Times registration.


1. WorldbyStorm - February 8, 2007

Interesting piece in WW and the point is well made.


2. A bit of good news « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - March 23, 2007

[…] in Media and Journalism, Freedom of speech, Culture, Islam, media. trackback Last month, I wrote about the trial of Philippe Val, editor of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Val was charged […]


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