Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Attack on 'Charlie Hebdo' spurs storm of debate online

Jan 09. 2015
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TWITTER'S timeline on Wednesday evening was dominated by news of the shootings at the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in which 12 people including four cartoonists were killed.

Besides the news of the tragedy, related issues discussed in the cyber world and by conventional media included terrorism, religion and the threat toward freedom of the press. Leaders of many countries made statements, off and online.

In a few hours, moral support for the magazine came from all over the world. Hashtags #CharlieHebdo and #pressfreedom were among the popular.

@guardiannews posted, “Twitter users are expressing solidarity with #CharlieHebdo by using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.”

Changing profile pictures to the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” with a black background became another way to express solidarity.

Journalist Bannaroth Buaklee praised the use of this badge (white and grey ‘Je Suis Charlie’ characters on a black background) in social media, which helped mobilise thousands of people at the Place de la Republique within hours of the incident.

Some used or shared cartoons or pictures of pens or pencils as symbols of defiance over the threat toward freedom of the press.

Foreign media outlets later provided background about the weekly magazine and talked about the suspected motives as well as some Muslim reactions toward the massacre. Many Thai social media users discussed freedom of the press.

@chomsowhat: From what happened in France, people discuss Freedom of Speech. It has been said that FOS is not useful even in Thailand. FOS naturally contains hate speech, racism or any bad and non-constructive things. In Thailand, FOS is not so bad. But Thai society has never had a chance to learn the dark side of it but even be quick to say there should be no FOS in Thailand.

@himatako_th: I saw [Twitter messages] and became confused. I think they have the right to write. Although it was racist of Islamophobic, their right of expression exists. They can be criticised if you don’t want to support racist or Islamophobic cartoons. Fight with free speech.

@pookpui: I disagree with Voltaire to defend the right to say anything. It also depends on the content.

@u_norma: The pride of Charlie Hebdo is the non-selective satire against everyone equally. RIP to all the dead. … If any media in the free world appear to be sensitive and show empathy for Muslims being ridiculed, they will be branded as yielding to extremists… Sigh.

@panzahahaha: For some people, “Tolerance for people with different views” means, ‘Hey, I don’t respect what you do. I can offend but you have to respect my belief. I think differently from you.’

On Facebook, Prachatai executive director Chiranuch Premchaiporn started an event on Thursday titled ‘Je suis Charlie en Thailande’ at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre to commemorate the victims and promote freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, Waraluck Suksawat posted: “The media use the pen to write improperly (to satire cultures, religions, races) and call it freedom of the press. This is like using the pen as weapons, powerful ones which can spread widely.

“Those affected must be angry or dissatisfied. They warned the media to stop but the media ignored [them] thinking they had the right. Those affected then use their weapons.

“Don’t say that pens do not kill. Are you sure?”

Benyah Han posted “Western media call for freedom of the press. I don’t see any of them talking about media ethics.

“Do they think that freedom of the press means the media can do anything without thinking of suitability? Can they just publicise the caricatures ridiculing other people’s religions?

“A few years ago there was an attempt to ban female Muslims from covering their faces in public places, claiming the equal rights. On the other hand, Muslims believe all have the freedom of religions and how to dress.

“I personally think those who say ‘People with different opinions can live together,’ should tell the Western media so that they open their mind.”

Pat Sarnsamak said: “Right, you have your pen and freedom to write your opinions and report the facts, but it must be done responsibly and must not instigate hate.”


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