Did Charlie Hebdo have the right to publish its cartoons?

Irene Feher

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Islamic terrorists in January killed 10 French journalists and two police officers at the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris due to the satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

After the massacre, many journalists questioned freedom of speech and the limits of what publications can produce.

Millions of people joined in rallies and parades across France holding the sign “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie.” This phrase became a show of support for those who were killed in the terrorist attack and a defense for freedom of speech.

France has the right to publish satirical and stereotypical cartoons. Sure, the cartoons were racist. Extremists and the Muslims had every right to be angry at the magazine, but it wasn’t proper for the Islamic terrorists to kill 12 people in anger. They should have protested peacefully against the satirical cartoons.

Charlie Hebdo’s actions for publishing the cartoons were an act of resistance and opposition to the Islamic terrorists from the firebombing that happened in 2011. Some could say the attack that happened in Paris recently could have been prevented if the publication shut up and stopped publishing the cartoons after previous threats.

I believe the magazine had the Muhammad-mocking cartoons released for the right reasons: To prove to the terrorists that they are not afraid. But unfortunately it caused the death of 12 people.

It was brave for Charlie Hebdo to publish the satirical cartoons, considering the criticism it received for depicting the prophet Muhammad in a negative way.

Because of the cartoons, Pope Francis said that people cannot insult and make fun of other people’s faith on his flight to the Philippines. Francis also said those who say provocative comments will receive retaliation in return.

But others say that the satirical publication was within its rights as a news organization, which I agree with. There’s nothing that stops the magazine from publishing the satirical cartoons. The cartoons have a sarcastic tone, which I believe isn’t meant to threaten anyone and isn’t meant to be taken personally.

The terrorist attack proved that freedom of speech may be in danger if publications aren’t careful. The killing in Paris opened up people’s eyes, especially journalists’ eyes, on the limits of freedom of speech.

No one should die for free speech.

Sheena Gonzalez