Charlie Hebdo attack

On 7/1/2015 terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo office and murdered two policemen and ten others; according to one report all of them journalists, according to another report eight of them journalists, one maintenance worker and one visitor. Charlie Hebdo is a magazine known for cartoons that offended many people. Some cartoons offended Muslims. The terrorists had masked their faces. They claimed to be members of Al Qaeda. After murders they left in a car.
Leaders of different countries and Muslims leaders in France condemned the attack. John Kerry said the journalists were martyrs for liberty. People demonstrated against the attack and many carried badges with the slogan Je Suis Charlie (I Am Charlie.) Marie Le Pen demanded institution of death penalty.
Charlie Hebdo journalists knew their cartoons offended Muslims. They did not care. French law gave them liberty to draw those cartoons and they used it. They reprinted Danish cartoons. Many other newspapers and magazines had reprinted Danish cartoons. Charlie Hebdo’s previous office was fire bombed.
Terrorists kill many people. Some attacks make news. This attack made news because it happened in Paris and targets were famous people.
Many condemned the killings. Some of them said freedom of speech and expression should be limited and people should not do that offends others. Indirectly they blame Charlie Hebdo journalists for offensive cartoons. Some others said the magazine provoked Muslims. French ambassador Francois Richter said no one has to buy the magazine.
Laws regarding freedom of speech and expression differ from country to country. In some European countries denial of holocaust is forbidden. Muslims want ban on cartoons that offend them.
Charlie Hebdo had security but that was not enough. Policemen should have been bulletproof from head to toe.
Charlie Hebdo’s usual circulation is 60,000 copies. They want to print a million copies for next issue.
Offence is subjective. What offends one can be funny to another and vice versa. The Interview was a funny film for many Americans but offensive for many North Koreans. North Korea’s comparison of Barack Obama to an African monkey was offensive for many Americans but funny for many North Koreans. In India there were TV ads which were funny for Indians and offensive for Africans.
In India constitution and law limit the freedom of speech and expression. Many times what is legally permissible is banned because some people take offence and resort to violence. However if there is support from others there is no ban. Some people found PK offensive and wanted a ban on the film. They belonged to RSS group. Then Akhilesh Yadav said PK is a good film and made it tax free in UP. After that Nitish Kumar praised the film. There was no ban.
Some people in film industry who were vociferous votaries of freedom of speech and expression and were against censorship changed their views when they joined political parties. Khushboo and Mahesh Bhatt are examples.

Updated: January 10, 2015 — 7:56 am

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