Charlie Hebdo cover pressing debate over whether to show it

Parisians queue at a newspaper kiosk to get their copies of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine on January 14, 2015 in Paris, France. Three million copies of the controversial magazine have been printed in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks. (Getty Images)
The New York Times’ top editor had a groundbreaking acknowledgement last week when his newspaper was criticized for not publishing cartoons from Charlie Hebdo after last week’s attacks in Paris.

Dean Baquet said, basically, there are other places to see the images; you don’t need the New York Times.

That’s a slippery slope of irrelevance for an ink-stained wretch to acknowledge but the paper is sticking with the policy today as Charlie Hebdo pushed out its first issue since the killings, with a cover that doubles downs on the images that might offend Muslims.

Today, Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s “public editor”, said it’s a bad idea:

The new cover image of Charlie Hebdo is an important part of a story that has gripped the world’s attention over the past week.

The cartoon itself, while it may disturb the sensibilities of a small percentage of Times readers, is neither shocking nor gratuitously offensive. And it has, undoubtedly, significant news value.

With Charlie Hebdo’s press run of more than one million copies for this post-attack edition, and a great deal of global coverage, the image is being seen, judged and commented on all over the world. Times readers should not have had to go elsewhere to find it.

Now, about that free speech thing in Paris.

A comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, has reportedly been arrested after posting on Facebook, “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” a reference to one of the gunman who attacked a kosher grocery store, The Guardian reports today.

The Facebook post has been removed.

The Associated Press reports today that 54 people have been arrested.

  • Dave

    PBS Newshour last night declined to show the cover. I was disappointed with their self-censorship.

    • Jack

      Self-censoredness, indeed.
      Keeping a few out of **harms** way.