Cross Country Checkup

Will the Charlie Hebdo shootings create a chill in the media and among journalists?

Silencing the press: The cold-blooded assassination of French cartoonists by Islamist extremists has shocked the world. What affect will it have among media, writers and journalists?
Illustrator Loïc Sécheresse drew a raised fist in solidarity with the magazine's staff. (Loïc Sécheresse/Twitter)
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Silencing the press: The cold-blooded assassination of French cartoonists by Islamist extremists has shocked the world.

What affect will it have among media, writers and journalists?

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This week the post Christmas and New Years lassitude was snapped by a bloody assault in Paris, France that reverberated around the world.

Two gunmen ...brothers ...both self-described jihadists, entered the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and with cold-blooded efficiency proceeded to shoot twelve people, many of them cartoonists. Their crime: satirizing the prophet Muhammad.  

A short time later in another part of Paris, another gunman shot a police officer and grabbed 5 hostages in a Jewish food market.  

The result was a massive security mobilization of up to 90-thousand  police and military personnel who eventually tracked down the two young French jihadists, just outside Paris ...and killed them in a shootout. Moments apart another shootout with the kidnapper in the market killed him and claimed the lives of 4 of his 5 hostages.  

The gun men said they sought martyrdom for their cause. The brothers claimed allegiance to Yemen's chapter of Al Qaeda. The other gunman said he was inspired by ISIS.

Reaction rippled around a world pre-wired by social media.  Many saw it as a direct attack on freedom of expression and press freedom, others saw it as part of a broader attack on Western liberal culture.

Today in Paris estimates ranging from 1-million to three-million people marched in the streets to mark their defiance against the views that brought about the Charlie Hebdo killings.  The crowds were joined in the streets by 40 world leaders.

We want to hear your views on this.  Call us at 1-888-416-8333

What is your reaction?  Will such an action mean that people will be more fearful about speaking freely?  To what extent do you see these attacks as being a slide into a broader and more entrenched cultural divide?  How best to confront a political ideology or religious extremism that brooks no criticism?  Is increased sensitivity to insult and blasphemy a way forward to disarm such violence?

In the New York Times today there's an ad placed by a coalition of Muslim thinkers which asks "What Can Muslims do to re-claim our beautiful religion?"
If you are part of a religious community yourself what are you hearing about a way forward?

Our question today: "Will the Charlie Hebdo shootings create a chill in the media and beyond?"

I'm Rex Murphy  ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


Margaret Evans
CBC Europe correspondent in Paris
Twitter: @mevansCBC

Yves Boisvert
Columnist for La Presse newspaper in Quebec.

Wesley Wark
Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. 

Raheel Raza
Founder of a forum called Muslims Facing Tomorrow and author of a book called, "Their Jihad ..not my Jihad." 

Paul Marshall
Senior Fellow in the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute and Visiting Professor at Syarif Hidayatullah Islamic State University in Jakarta, Indonesia. 
Twitter: @HudsonInstitute 



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