When the Charlie Hebdo killings happened in Paris in early 2015, attention swivelled to the way that terror and accusation are being used to try and stifle debate. But these are discussions that are not only being held in France, so I asked writers around the world to write short essays exploring the ways that journalists and artists have been threatened over the years, for exploring themes that others would rather they had not tackled.
When people are escaping danger or feel threatened, the natural inclination is to stay quiet and under the radar. Some bravely do not. They intend to alert the world to a situation that is unfolding, to attempt to protect others, or just give an alternative view. Our writers talk about why and how censorship and outrage is being used to quiet debate; how fear and threats of writers and journalists has sometimes been followed by killings of the messengers.
For playwright Ariel Dorfman, the deaths at Charlie Hebdo brought back memories of death squads in Chile and Argentina, while for Turkish novelist Elif Shafak it brought home the need to speak up for democracy, and co-existence. All our writers bring views from around the world about the future of debate and journalism in their region.
As Shafak says so wisely: “The response to a book, is another book. The response to a cartoon is another cartoon. Words need to be answered with words.”
- Rachael Jolley, Editor, Index on Censorship
- Arthur Mathews
- Ariel Dorfman
- David Edgar
- Elif Shafak
- Hannah Leung
- Raymond Louw
- Richard Sambrook
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