Charlie Hebdo: This is not the time to discuss “limits” of free speech

When there were some tweets yesterday that raised questions if the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo should have been “careful” and “respectful” towards the Muslim sentiments, we thought that those were isolated voices.

However, a day after the ghastly terror attacks, more and more similar voices are being raised by different people in the mainstream media.

While questions like “whether absolute free speech is possible” or “should there be a limit to the free speech” have been being debated since ages, OpIndia.com believes that this is hardly the right time to discuss such questions.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

It is akin to discussing “should women dress modestly” when a rape has taken place and the rapist claims that he was “provoked” due to the skimpy clothes the woman was wearing.

Any such debate will unwittingly legitimize the medieval and violent ideology that the perpetrator of the crime subscribes to.

Unfortunately, such debates are taking place. For example, look at this article published on Firstpost.com, which explains the “nuances” of why the author, Sandip Roy, is not supporting the campaign #JeSuisCharlie, which was started to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

Je Suis Charlie drawing by Jean Julien
Not everyone is willing to support this movement; there are other priorities for some.

The author declares that the cartoons were indeed offensive, and quotes another view that says that “Their satire was bad, and remains bad. Their satire was racist and remains racist.”

Surely, the author has all the right to say that – free speech after all.

It further says, rather quotes, “The murder of the satirists in question does not prove that their satire was good.”

Indeed, even this point is taken – free speech after all.

But dear Mr. Roy, what we ought to be discussing right now is that not whether the murder of the satirists in question prove that their satire was good, but whether the act of murder proves that the grievances of the murderers were genuine.

The “quality” of cartoons is the last thing we need to discuss at a time when the terrorists, and their apologists, are citing deeds and teachings of Prophet Mohammad, claiming that the act of murdering someone for saying offensive things is sanctioned in Islam.

Let’s keep the political correctness aside. The truth is that even if a cartoonist draws an approving illustration (as opposed to a mocking cartoon) of Prophet Mohammad, chances are very high that he would be accused of blasphemy and there will be calls for beheading him.

Isn’t it the right time to question such beliefs?

How is this belief – that one shouldn’t draw pictures of a particular personality – fundamentally different from a belief like “one shouldn’t eat non-vegetarian food on Tuesdays”? Why should there be satire that mocks only the latter belief?

It is not about particular beliefs. It is about the priority our commentators are assigning – questioning the satire versus questioning the beliefs.

Why are our commentators not debating issues that question and attack the dogmatism of the terrorists, but are instead choosing to debate issues that question and attack editorial tastes and discretion of the magazine?

Do they really think this is the time to discuss limits and boundaries of free speech? If so, the terrorists are nodding in agreement.

A well known expert on nothing. Opinions totally personal. RTs, sometimes even my own tweets, not endorsement. #Sarcasm. As unbiased as any popular journalist.

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram assembly election results

Latest updates and breaking news on counting day: EC leads out, BJP inches close in Rajasthan, MP, trails in Chattisgarh

Latest news and updates from 2018 assembly election results of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Statue of all ironies: Pritish Nandy uses example of fake news to spread fake news

Pritish Nandy shared a fake image which was earlier shared by Youth Congress leader

Fact check: Did BJP President Amit Shah and PM Modi call Baniyas cheaters and accuse them of profiteering?

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had also been accused of making a casteist remark, which turned out to be a Photoshopped image

Vijay Mallya’s extradition judgement rubbishes liberal ‘cabal’ allegations against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana

Vijay Mallya's defence team was using Indian left-liberals' allegations agaist Rakesh Asthana in London court
Image Source: Zee News

Sidhu knew of the opening before Imran Khan was sworn in, Kartarpur a bigger conspiracy by ISI: Captain Amarinder Singh

Pakistan General Bajwa had revealed the Kartarpur corridor news to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their PM, Punjab CM Singh indicated “a bigger conspiracy" hatched by the Pak Army.

After stopping BJP’s rath yatra, West Bengal government allows Hindu-hater Bangladeshi Maulana to address meetings in the state

BJP's rath yatra banned, Bangladeshi Islamic preacher welcomed in West Bengal
Vijay Mallya to be extradited

Big victory for India: UK court orders Vijay Mallya’s extradition who is wanted in India for a Rs. 9000 crore scam

The liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, is wanted in India in connection with an alleged scam worth Rs. 9000 crores and is to be extradited to India.

When ‘anti-corruption crusader’ met the ‘Raja’ of 2G spectrum scam

Kejriwal, who till now has been religiously snubbed by Congress and its allies, is expected to participate in the meeting for the first time.

‘Journalists’ and politicians spread lies about RBI Deputy Governor’s resigning following Urjit Patel’s exit

"Journalists" started rumour-mongering about the resignation of RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya soon after Governor Urjit Patel resigned citing personal reasons

Jignesh Shah’s firm rented property owned by Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka: Here is all you need to know about NSEL scam

The NSEL suspended the trading of all contracts on the 31st of July, 2013. Eventually, 24 trading entities defaulted on their payment to the spot exchange, which amounted to around Rs. 5600 crores.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,508FansLike
97,347FollowersFollow
6,059SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these