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Jan. 29, 2015 Volume 36, No. 17

Symposium to explore free expression in aftermath of Charlie Hebdo attack

MU journalism professor in Paris during attack is scheduled to speak

The terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this month has created a lot of discussion. One issue involves the parameters of free expression. When does expression become gratuitously offensive? When is censorship the right call?

The Missouri School of Journalism is hosting a symposium 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Gannett Hall’s Fisher Auditorium that will explore the issue of free speech and censorship. Admission is free.

Among the scheduled speakers are Khalil Bendib, a political cartoonist who is Muslim; Aiden White, director of the Ethical Journalism Network; Sandra Davidson, a Curators Teaching Professor of Journalism and adjunct professor in the MU School of Law; and Martha Steffens, an MU journalism professor who was in Paris with students at the time of the attack.

Over the years, some major news outlets like The New York Times have opted not to publish Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad despite their newsworthiness due to an editorial policy not to publish images deliberately intended to offend religious people. But other news outlets like BuzzFeed have published the images, arguing that to refrain would be self-censorship.