PEN World Voices Festival | NYC April 25 – May 1, 2016

Charlie Hebdo and Challenges to Freedom of Expression

Ed Berenson introduced Charlie Hebdo with a discussion of France’s history of irreverence towards authority, the first political caricatures, and Hara-Kiri Hebdo—Charlie’s predecessor. Biard and Thoret discussed France’s hate speech laws, along with the importance of debate, free speech, and of not letting some sensibilities restrain other people’s opinions. For Biard and Thoret, Charlie Hebdo is not against religion, but against the political use of religion. In addition, they warned about the dangers of self-censorship and advised of the need to better educate the population on how to read images. At the end of the speech, Biard and Thoret touched on Charlie Hebdo’s main objective: to make people laugh and think.


Co-presented with NYU Journalism.