社説:表現すること 他者を尊重する心も

January 16, 2015(Mainichi Japan)
Editorial: Respect for others is important in freedom of expression
社説:表現すること 他者を尊重する心も

A deadly terrorist attack on the French weekly Charlie Hebdo has sparked controversy over whether its publication of caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad falls within the bounds of freedom of expression or constitutes profanation. One cannot help but wonder whether these two matters are irreconcilable. It is necessary to pursue a society in which people with different values, such as religions, can coexist while respecting freedom of expression.

Charlie Hebdo has continued to publish caricatures of the prophet despite criticism that such satires are provocative. The magazine carried a caricature of the prophet in its latest issue published after the attack. Some Western media ran a photo of the caricature to express their support for Charlie Hebdo while others chose not to publish it in view of religious sensibilities. Japanese newspapers were split over their response, with some of them including the Mainichi Shimbun choosing not to publish a photo of the caricature and others running such an image.

One caricaturist within Charlie Hebdo said journalism should not give in to violence saying, “There are no restrictions on or conditions for freedom of expression.” The idea is based on a value of respecting freedom of expression that French people have maintained since the French Revolution, and is likely to be supported by many.

We are of the view that freedom of speech is a principle that forms the basis of democracy and must be respected to the maximum extent. Nobody should be allowed to resort to violence to criticize or protest against free speech. What should be criticized in the latest incident is extremism in which terrorists attempted to suppress freedom of expression by violence.

However, denouncing violence in the press and how to exercise freedom of expression should be considered separately. There were many participants in an anti-terror demonstration march in Paris who apparently thought that repeatedly making fun of a certain religion is excessive while admitting that freedom of expression must be respected. It is worrisome that Charlie Hebdo continues to publish caricatures, which could be taken as provocation, while attention is focused on how to ensure Europe and Islamic society can peacefully coexist. This could trigger further clashes.

Freedom of expression should be protected to achieve a society in which diverse values are respected. To that end, it is important for members of society to respect not only their own values but also other people’s values. If expressions that offend and discriminate against others were to be permitted without limits, society could lose diversity and tolerance, and even allow those in power to intervene in the press.

In Japan, hate speech that fuels discrimination against and rejects certain ethnic groups has emerged as a serious social problem. Repeating speech that insults and defames other people is not worthy of being called freedom of speech. It is important to keep in mind that expression requires moderation and conscience and that those who exercise their freedom of speech must take responsibility for what they say.

毎日新聞 2015年01月16日 02時40分

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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