Thursday, April 30, 2015

Panel discussion about “Charlie Hebdo and Challenges to Freedom of Expression” this Tuesday in New York

PEN will be hosting a panel discussion at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, this coming Tuesday, May 5, at 10 AM, concerning “Charlie Hebdo and Challenges to Freedom of Expression”:
Charlie Hebdo’s recently appointed editor-in-chief, Gérard Biard, and its film critic, Jean-Baptiste Thoret, are visiting the United States for the first time since the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris, which killed eight of their co-workers and four others. On the evening of Tuesday, May 5, they will receive the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Free Expression Courage Award at the PEN American Center’s annual Literary Gala in New York.

Please join us for a conversation about the challenges to free expression in France and Europe, the role of satire in open societies, the controversies that have surrounded Charlie Hebdo, and the tensions between respect for religious differences and protections for freedom of expression.

The panel is in formation and will include the director of NYU’s Institute of French Studies, Ed Berenson; Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gérard Biard; PEN Executive Director Suzanne Nossel; and Charlie Hebdo film critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret. Journalist Maggy Donaldson will moderate.
Admission is free but seats have to be reserved.

I’m pleased some of the surviving CH staff members will have an opportunity to speak for themselves, though it’s almost surreal to see them put on the defensive a few months after their colleagues were massacred. I hope some of the people who’ve written about their plans to boycott the gala have been invited to join the panel or will at least attend the forum, where it will be possible to get beyond the swirl of ignorant accusations and learn about the actual history, motives, and attitudes of Charlie Hebdo.

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