The killing by religious extremists of a dozen workers at a French satirical magazine is truly depressing. I can give all the media training advice in the world, but it is, frankly, useless, against someone or a mindset that has the attitude of “if you express ideas I don’t agree with, I will kill you.”
Freedom of expression is inherently a Western, liberal idea. While I wish everyone in the world accepted the notion of freedom of expression, clearly many do not.
I wish I had the answers, but I don’t. It’s easy to criticize the editors of the major newspapers and TV networks around the world for not publishing the drawings in question, but these editors have an ethical obligation to think about how many of their own employees might be killed as a result. Not to mention, publishers have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors-having your newsroom destroyed does not help the bottom line.
For that matter, I’m sure I could find the offending photos on the internet and post them on my blog right here. But I don’t because I don’t have a full security detail to protect myself and my family.
So where does that leave us? In a world where religious extremists are imposing a new Dark Age. Christian extremists imposed this during the Inquisition to terrifying results. Now, it looks like another band of religious extremists is going to have a go at it.
TJ Walker is a communications expert. You can reach him at 212.764.4955