OPINION PIECE: If the brave staff at Charlie Hebdo magazine had been in the Celebrity Big Brother house this year, they’d have been thrown out on day one.
The provocative satirical magazine was targeted last week by terrorists in Paris. Charlie Hebdo had received many threats over the years for its controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The attacks last week in France attracted worldwide attention and bought the world’s attention to freedom of speech.
Many commentators, the press and ordinary folk took to Twitter in the days after to denounce the attack and say that freedom of speech should not be attacked. We may not like what a person or publication publishes, but they have the right to do that.
What we all forget is that the UK hadn’t aired or published the controversial cartoons, so why be forced to now?
Over on Celebrity Big Brother, former Coronation Street actor Ken Morley was thrown out of the house for using language which can be deemed sexist and racist.
Where is the mass press claiming that this shouldn’t have happened? Where are the people claiming such thing as freedom of speech?
That’s right. There is no such thing as freedom of speech. There are those who are a walking contradiction, mainly the mainstream press.
On one hand we stand tall to face the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo to defend the right to freedom of speech and offend, but then on the other we slap away anything we feel may offend others and ourselves by shutting it down, or in Ken’s case, removing him from our screens.
We may think of ourselves, as the UK, as one of the leaders of freedom of speech, but we are not. We have the laws, we have Ofcom to regulate the media but more strikingly we self-censor. Not for fear of prosecution, but for fear of offending someone.
If there is such thing as freedom of speech then that is only allowed if the other person agrees.