Local censorship of Charlie Hebdo continues, notably by The New York Times


A new issue of the controversial Parisian satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo will be released on Wednesday, and news of a preview of the front page of the next issue was published by The New York Times -- only, the newspaper of record deliberately forsook publishing a preview of that new front page.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, had previously said that he found the illustrations published by Charlie Hebdo offensive, adding that, "We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well :  that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult," in remarks he made in a column published by Margaret Sullivan, the newspaper's public editor.

Mr. Baquet added that he was concerned with staff safety in the event that The New York Times were to publish some of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons, and he also considered the possibility of offending the newspaper's Muslim readers, before he concluded that the newspaper would not publish the cartoons.

Remarkably, even though some of The New York Times' own reporters have become targets precisely because of their journalism, as noted by CUNY graduate journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, the newspaper of record refuses to publish cartoons from Charlie Hebdo.

In contrast to The New York Times, the normally conservative CBS News tweeted a preview of the front page of the next issue of Charlie Hebdo.

A request sent to Mr. Baquet through The New York Times' online messaging service did not yield a response.

A preview of the front page of the next issue of Charlie Hebdo, due to be put on sale on Wednesday.  Source :  Le Monde

A preview of the front page of the next issue of Charlie Hebdo, due to be put on sale on Wednesday.  Source :  Le Monde

Many have mistaken Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad for bigotry, even racism.  However, the satirical newspaper is in keeping with a long French tradition of "radical anticlericalism," according to Caroline Weber of The Wall Street Journal.

The front page of the next issue of Charlie Hebdo depicts the Muslim prophet Muhammad holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign, with a tear on his left cheek.  He appears beneath the headline, "Tout Est Pardonné," translating into English as, "All Is Forgiven." 

The tone of forgiveness has been seized by people, who are searching for greater sensibilities of humanism and respect for one another after the deadly attack at Charlie Hebdo, which led to the deaths of 12 people, leaving as many injured, and in the subsequent French raids to end two related hostage situations, one involving two men suspected of carrying out the Charlie Hebdo attack and another involving a sympathiser, which raids, combined, resulted in a further seven deaths, and possibly an eighth, if one counts a prior killing attributed to the sympathizing hostage-taker. 

The violent attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo have acted to unify France across various faiths and cultures at a critical time when many have questioned the ability of France to integrate immigrants into an otherwise homogenous French society, if one that has, at times, seen its share of violence and turmoil.  Since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, large, emotional demonstrations and unity rallies -- the size not seen since the liberation of Paris during World War II -- have acted to bring people together.

The initial social media response, a barometer of people's emotions and opinions, morphed from one of solidarity with the journalists killed, as represented by the Twitter hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie, to one that extended sympathy, respect, and solidarity with Muslims, as represented by the Twitter hashtag, #JeSuisAhmed, a reference to the Mulsim police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who gave his life trying to protect the offices of Charlie Hebdo during the attack, demonstrating that, contrary to Mr. Baquet's irrational fears, people are sensible enough to distinguish nuance and express respect for one another in a debate about freedom of speech, even potentially offensive speech, particularly during a time of high emotions.

Criticism of top U.S. absence from Paris unity march

On Sunday, in a rally in solidarity and unity, 1,5 million people marched through the streets of Paris, including many world leaders, but no top official from the Obama White House participated to represent the U.S. at the Paris unity march.

The American government was represented at the unity march by U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.  However, bi-partisan criticism by top officials forced the Obama White House to admit on Monday it was a mistake that no top-level White House official participated in the Paris unity march.  

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris on Sunday, but he ditched the unity march in favour of taping an interview with NBC News.