The latest cartoon on the front cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, shows an image depicting the Prophet Muhammad crying while holding up a “Je suis Charlie” sign. Above the cartoon are the words “All is forgiven”.
As Artlyst was the first to report, That BBC’s Newsnight briefly showed a copy of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo, which displays the cartoon. It was a photocopy, not the actual magazine and the shot was brief and only showed it in close-up for seconds. Was it correct for the BBC to broadcast this image?, or was it just stupid given the current tinderbox situation we asked. The BBC also ran Charlie Hebdo’s controversial depiction of the Prophet Mohammed, a move that flew in the face of editorial guidance that the network now says is outdated. The cartoons were broadcast on the BBC’s “Ten O’Clock News” and “Newsnight” during coverage of the shooting in Paris last Wednesday.
In light of this change in tack – we look at which news agencies did – and didn’t run the cartoon, given the difficult editorial choice between caution, self-censorship through fear of safety, yet denial of the right to uphold free speech in a free society, or the editorial choice to do quite the opposite and potentially put lives at risk. As editor of any publication viewed internationally – which would you do? Here is the list of publications, and the choice that they made given the difficult situation.
1. Libération: Yes 2. CNN: No. 3. CBS News: Yes. 4. The Guardian: Yes. 5. Wall Street Journal: Yes. NBC News: No. 7. Mashable: No. 8. The Daily Beast: Yes. 9. BBC: Yes. 10. AFP/Yahoo: Yes. 11. Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Yes. 12. USA Today: Yes. 13. Business Insider: Yes. 14. NPR: No. 15. Washington Post: Yes. New York Times: No. 17. Los Angeles Times: Yes. The Blaze: Yes. The Telegraph: No. Daily Mail: No. Huffington Post: Yes. 22. Mic: Yes. 23. Fox News: Yes. 24. New York Post: Yes. 25. BuzzFeed: Yes. 25. Artlyst: No