Free Expression

Satire, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press have become contentious topics during the past few weeks, throughout the literary Internet, and the media in general.

First, Sony Pictures was (not) hacked by North Korea , so lots of people watched the satirical movie that was rumored to be targeted by the hack, as a show of support for freedom of expression .

Then, there was the Kirby Delauter debacle , where an elected official defied a journalist’s right to print his name by saying “your rights stop where mine start.” Mockery ensued .

Finally, the Charlie Hebdo attack has brought about a diverse conversation about expression, which in some cases can occur with both the pen and the sword, and the limits and freedoms of expression. The literary community in large part, and especially Salman Rusdie, have spoken out vehemently against the attack.

Thought Catalog approaches the situation with an insightful distinction between free speech and open speech , with a reminder that “none of us raised an eyebrow in 2006 when the Bush administration criticized Charlie Hebdo for republishing Danish cartoons that mocked Mohammed.” The Open Democracy blog asks readers to consider whether Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are hate speech .

It’s an argument shared in some sense by the Pope’s comments about the violent response to Charlie Hebdo. The Pope says “it’s normal” and “one cannot provoke” but the Guardian calls that “ the wife-beater’s defence .”