January 7, 2016

On Thursday, many front pages in France led with remembrances on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, which left 12 dead.

On Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists looked at press freedom in France and around the world one year later.

Who would have thought that France would top the list of most deadly countries for the press in 2015, second only to Syria? The massacre of eight cartoonists and journalists by Islamic militants at the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last January was one of the deadliest attacks against the press since CPJ began keeping records in 1992.

CPJ also reported Wednesday that 2015 was the fourth most deadly year on record for journalists, with extremist groups responsible for 42 percent of the 71 journalist deaths.

Here are some of the front pages that led with Charlie Hebdo, via Kiosko:










After the attacks one year ago, political cartoonists quickly shared their own tributes on social media, and newspapers in France and around the world devoted front pages to Charlie Hebdo. Here are a few of those fronts:



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In the days and weeks following the attack, news organizations in the U.S. differed in what images they showed from Hebdo, which published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Some news organizations published the cartoons in full, some partially and others chose not to at all.

At the time, Julia Turner, editor-in-chief of Slate, told Poynter the following:

Our role is to help our readers understand news as it breaks. Part of what American readers in particular wanted to understand today is what sort of magazine Charlie Hebdo is and what sort of work it publishes, and so we chose to feature some of its controversial work as part of our coverage. We ran the images with context on when they were published and what the response was, all of which was useful for readers seeking to comprehend this story. We also opted not to obscure images of the work that appeared on posters and magazine covers in news photos of events today in Paris—again, because our readers want an unobscured view of what’s going on.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo came out Wednesday.

On Thursday, the International Press Institute joined with PEN International in an open letter urging press freedom around the world, writing the attack last year “was a horrific reminder of the violence to which journalists, artists and other critical voices are subjected in a global atmosphere marked by increasing intolerance of dissent. The killings inaugurated a year that has proved especially challenging for proponents of freedom of opinion.”

Perhaps the most far-reaching threats to freedom of expression in 2015 came from governments ostensibly motivated by security concerns. Following the attack on Charlie Hebdo, 11 interior ministers from European Union countries including France, Britain and Germany issued a statement in which they called on Internet service providers to identify and remove online content ‘that aims to incite hatred and terror.’ In July, the French Senate passed a controversial law giving sweeping new powers to the intelligence agencies to spy on citizens, which the UN Human Rights Committee categorised as “excessively broad”.

This kind of governmental response is chilling because a particularly insidious threat to our right to free expression is self-censorship. In order to fully exercise the right to freedom of expression, individuals must be able to communicate without fear of intrusion by the State. Under international law, the right to freedom of expression also protects speech that some may find shocking, offensive or disturbing. Importantly, the right to freedom of expression means that those who feel offended also have the right to challenge others through free debate and open discussion, or through peaceful protest.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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