06 January 2017

Two years ago we were all Charlie Hebdo. Now our willingness to defend freedom of expression has been crushed again

.... While the brute violence of the Charlie Hebdo massacre was abhorrent in its own right, the decision of the Kouachi brothers to target a satirical magazine carried a particular disturbing message.

It signalled an attack on the progressive values of freedom of expression and tolerance. In the aftermath, there was recognition that, although the magazine had dared to satirise Muhammad, freedom of speech - including its mischievous extension, the freedom to ridicule - were more important than the right not to be offended.

But two years later, "Je suis Charlie" has been substituted for "Je suis offensé", and our brief flirtation with the value of freedom of speech has been replaced by a willingness to ban and condemn.

So when Charlie Hebdo mocked the death of Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi in 2015 and again in January 2016, and the victims of the Amatrice earthquake last September, many jumped at the opportunity to chastise the magazine. [The Telegraph] Read more