Prophet And Loss



‘Sold out’: Charlie Hebdo poster in Paris today

Further to the Irish Times’s decision to not publish the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue

Some argue that the decision by most Irish newspapers not to reproduce the more provocative Charlie Hebdo cartoons is a betrayal of free expression….Charlie Hebdo certainly saw itself as defending free speech; but in a deliberately provocative manner. It has described itself as a “journal bête et méchant” [silly and rude newspaper]. Like Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, it countered the Muslim prohibition on images of the prophet by printing the most offensive images of Muhammad it could provide.

…Without question, nothing it did justified the slightest violence against Charlie Hebdo.
But does not publishing images of Muhammad really infringe the public’s right to information? Is this the real front line in the battle for media freedom? Surely there are more important challenges to be made than this one?

‘Right to offend’ does not require journalists to offend (Ronan Brady, Irish Times)

The rest of us generally try to show a bit of respect and decency and not do stuff that would needlessly draw on the crazies, just for the hell of it. And that sort of automatic self-censorship is what makes us civilized as human beings. It’s not just a matter of judgment; it’s a matter of common sense. Talking about some concept of ‘absolute and unfettered free speech’ is not only factually untrue, it also assumes the imposition of a whole range of cultural values on another people who happen to share the globe but who think differently.

Amidst the right and proper condemnation of the killings in Paris, surely it is possible that we can ask some questions, and give some context. Or is there also to be a censorship of any debate around this event, which would be a grim irony in itself. Surely, such a debate is worth having, and having urgently, given that Charlie Hebdo now plans to publish further such images and other publications have vowed to do the same, thereby surely creating further unrest – and possible killings.

Charlie Hebdo should now stop demonizing Muslims for everyone’s sake Eamon Delaney, Irish Central)

Yesterday ‘Gratuitously Offensive’


“The Alliance Francaise cultural centre in Dublin said, based on their inquiries, there is no where in the State to purchase a copy of the magazine. A spokesman there said some members of staff were asking relatives in France to buy them a copy. He added that the centre would be taking out a subscription with the magazine so members will be able to read it in the library there, but they won’t be allowed take it home.”

Charlie Hebdo proving elusive for Irish readers (Irish Times)

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38 thoughts on “Prophet And Loss

    1. Bobby

      Forcing them to publish the picture against their will is as bad as not allowing them to publish it.

    2. scottser

      yeah, yeah, debate all ye want. sometimes there’s nothing like a good p1ss take to get a point across. it’s what language is for.

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    Ah, so the Irish Times want a debate now?
    Stay chained to the railings with your little Father Ted placards, fellas……

  2. Atticus

    Was watching the RTE news at lunch time and they made sure that they didn’t show the cartoon on the front page (only showing the title of the publication) during their report.

    Afraid of the blasphemy law?

    1. AliG

      The blasphemy law clearly allow the publication of images of political and academic interest. As the images are now a major part of the story they cannot now be considered under the law.

      1. Atticus

        Just surprised that they didn’t show it in full. Maybe they were just taking the stance as outlined above by the IT.

    2. ReproBertie

      They showed it on the news at nine last night. They were showing the printing presses and the cover was clearly visible in one of the stacks.

  3. AliG

    Irish times – the paper of record failed to publish one of the most integral parts of this months biggest story. Anyone who relies on tradition media in Ireland will not know fully what the background of this story is because of self censorship in the Irish Papers. They should just do the decent thing and admit they are scared. There is no shame in it if they had the guts to admit it.

  4. Bruncvik

    Even Al-Jazeera mentioned in its recently leaked e-mails that it’s important to “defend freedom of speech in the face of oppression”. I may go as far as to argue that killing people for what they say is oppression. Maybe Irish Times doesn’t agree with that assessment…

  5. Mr. T.

    Blah blah blah populist knee jerking.

    Most people haven’t a clue about the political or religious make up of most regions of the world. Too busy watching X-Factor or looking at stupid Tumblr images as they walk along like idiots while looking at their phones.

    And the younger generation are an embarrassment in their lack of general knowledge and cop-on compared their peers 20 years ago. Mindless twats.

    1. Joe the Lion

      and as for them people that do be posting on message boards on the internet – total and utter scum

    2. ReproBertie

      “the younger generation are an embarrassment in their lack of general knowledge and cop-on compared their peers 20 years ago. Mindless twats.”

      From the same poster (Mindless twat?) who said “UFC is a scumbag sport with virtually no rules.” thus displaying their own embarrassing lack of general knowledge.

        1. Sancho

          Chris Morris- now there’s a man who knows what satire is. Brass Eye was immense and absolutely brilliant. Morris knew how to help people show up their stupidity and hypocrisy .

  6. Jane

    Personally, I think it’s very interesting that it isn’t published anywhere. It seems to me that part of the level of media interest in this story has been due to the media being attacked with the insinuation that freedom of the press is under threat (and so is the heroic, noble journalist who faces mortal danger to bring us truth). Of course, this shows that for the most part, they lack the courage of their stated convictions and are in little danger themselves since retyping press releases and wire feeds really isn’t going to bring any reprisals.

    Of course the IT is correct in one way – freedom of speech does not mean that you are compelelled to offer pointless offense. But in this case, it actually wouldn’t have been pointless if every media outlet in the world had decided to simultaneously reprint these cartoons to make the point that you can’t kill an idea.

    Best let someone else go first though.

  7. missred

    Irish Central is normally full of syrupy drivel – that piece is one of the most reasonable and sensible balanced things I’ve seen them publish. The comments are full of feckin Americans with pitchforks at the ready

  8. JimmytheHead

    “Surely there are more important challenges to be made than this one?”

    Oh Ronan, when you write something thats more than fence sitting, attention seeking cowardice then maybe we’ll let you judge other people.

  9. Custo

    Just because you have a right to freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you have to excercise it with reckless abandon. It also doesn’t mean that by not excercising it, you are a coward.

    1. ReproBertie

      When someone attempts to quash your right to free expression with a threat of violence the correct response is not to bow to the bully and then attempt to justify your capitulation but to exercise your right to free expression.

      1. Ella

        Fine and well. But it wasn’t the free expression of the IT that was being quashed. The pictures and new cover match the tenor and editorial policy of CH. They may not match that of the Times, which has a different mission, audience, and ethos. The Times (and other media outlets) can report on this and take the side of CH while also exercising their own content policies.

        The pictures in and of themselves aren’t the story. The story is in how events are told and editorialised. The Times is not cowardly for choosing to tell this story their way. Their way doesn’t include the same tactics CH used. That doesn’t mean they don’t support the publication’s right to say what it will in its own way.

  10. liberte capillaire

    There are a number of comments on Broadsheet (an elsewhere) about Charlie Hebdo stating that they had islamophobic views. These statements make no sense when you have read Charlie Hebdo but it might worth pointing out this interview of an Algerian cartoonist who happen to be Muslim and who worked at Charlie Hebdo for few months.
    Sorry, it is in French but he explains how respectful of its religious belief (like not eating in front of him during ramadan) Charb and other were.
    In English and as interesting:
    Hope it helps Irish readers to understand what is Charlie Hebdo.

  11. lolly

    just a point of information – the cartoons in charlie hebdo are not “the most offensive… they could provide” as stated above. they show the prophet in despair at the idiots that are using him as an excuse to commit murder and in jokey positions. they could have gone way further See christian cartoons in the vid below). they went as far as they needed to make the point they wanted to make. any depiction of the prophet is offensive to jihadis. as to the Irish Times not publishing, so what. they are not under any obligation to do so any more than the UK papers are (some published, some didn’t). for what it’s worth Roy Greenslade on the Radio today said something similar..

    Vox did a vid. of the various CH cartoons with translations if any of you are curious. look at the one they did of the father son and holy spirit in the video below and you will see just how offensive they can be if they really want to push it –

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