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Should We Draw the Line on Political Cartooning?

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 12:28 pm (UTC-4)
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Why PEN is right to honor Charlie Hebdo

Masha Gessen — Slate

The staff of Charlie Hebdo has suffered the greatest crime against free speech committed in recent memory. The magazine continues to face a grave threat. We, the writers who make up PEN, can’t do much to protect our colleagues against murderous rage, but we can show that we are paying attention, by giving them an award for the courage that they so demonstrate every day. If we shied away from that small and fundamentally safe gesture, conspicuously averting our eyes from a crime because its journalist targets make us uncomfortable, we would not be doing our job.

Charlie Hebdo and a Rubicon Moment for Free Speech

Amanda Foreman — Wall Street Journal

If human-rights organizations, starting with PEN, fail to affirm the indivisibility of free speech, that failure will not lead to more peace and harmony in the world. It will lead to the reverse as vigilantes from all sides interpret such weakness as an invitation to impose their own order. The shootings in Copenhagen in February, and in Garland, Texas, last weekend—both involving Islamists targeting events they deemed insulting to their religion—are two examples of how some would like to see the “debate” unfold.

For those who believe in freedom of expression, the moment has come to make the choice between its defense or abandonment against a murderous movement that believes democratic values are subordinate to religious sensibilities.


(Mike Luckovich for PEN American Center)

(Mike Luckovich for PEN American Center)

Political cartoons matter: Don’t overlook this other PEN award in the Charlie Hebdo debate

Laura Miller — Salon

In the hubbub over PEN American Center’s decision to present its PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo last night, another honoree’s story has been obscured. Khadija Ismayilova is an Azerbaijani journalist who has fearlessly exposed widespread corruption at the highest levels of the Azerbaijani government…Not coincidentally, Ismayilova’s imprisonment coincides with the European Games, an Olympic-organized event to be held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in June.

(Khadija Ismayilova Prisoner of Conscience Facebook Administrators)

(Khadija Ismayilova Prisoner of Conscience Facebook Administrators)

A Letter From an Azerbaijani Prison

Khadija Ismayilova — The Washington Post

The fight between good and evil goes on, and the most important thing is that this fight should not end. If we can continue to reject the thinking that is imposed on us and believe that human dignity is not for sale, then we are the winners, and they, our jailers both inside and outside prison, are the losers.



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