Press Freedom Group: Charlie Hebdo Attack Highlights Danger of Blasphemy Laws

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A press-freedom watchdog said the Charlie Hebdo attack needs to draw attention to the danger of blasphemy laws around the world.

Reporters Without Borders also called on newspapers around the globe to run cartoons from the French satirical magazine in solidarity.


The group said the terrorist assault on the magazine “served as a tragic reminder of the dangers to which journalists covering sensitive religious issues are permanently exposed.”

They published a 2013 report on blasphemy, apostasy and defamation laws that not only threaten the general population but pull journalists into a religious dragnet.

“Sadly, this report is still very relevant,” Reporters Without Borders said Thursday. “The ability of journalists to freely cover religious issues in a various ways, including the use of humour, is again being challenged both in France and the rest of the world.”

“Journalists are increasingly facing religious taboos and censorship that influential groups are trying to impose. Columnists, editorial writers and cartoonists are among the journalists who are most exposed to threats, prosecution and even physical attacks.”

The report included the 2011 firebombing of Charlie Hebdo‘s offices and the 2010 assassination attempt on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

On Wednesday, the press-freedom organization issued an “international appeal” for editors to begin publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons.


Reporters Without Borders posted the Mohammed covers on their own website, as well.

“Renowned worldwide for its irreverent cartoons, Charlie Hebdo has always put its fight for freedom of information first. And now its staff has been decimated by an unspeakable act of violence that targets the entire press. Journalism as whole is in mourning,” the Paris-based group said.

“But freedom of information cannot shrink in the face of barbarity and yield to blackmail by those who assail out democracy and what our republic stands for. In the name of all those who have fallen in the defence of fundamental values, let us continue Charlie Hebdo’s fight for free information.”


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