I sit in class as my professor talks about – Why American news channels didn’t share the actual picture of Mohammed the Prophet on TV and only showed it rolled up.
Someone yells “The Americans are scared they’ll be next!”
“They’re saving themselves!” The guy behind me adds.
The girl in front of me says “Everyone knows the Americans are cowards!”
“They aren’t actually respecting anyone!” Someone else shouts.
“Big bad America is now scared? Hahaha”
I put my head down and started to think. I say to myself – you own The New York Time, do you allow your workers to share the cartoon of Mohammed the Prophet. I didn’t have to think for much longer. It was obvious.
Why would I share this picture? Why would I want to offend someone? I heard the Muslims in France saying they won’t buy the newspaper because they feel offended. Someone said “I’m offended by the cartoon of my Prophet!” That’s enough for me to decide. I will not share the picture.
Freedom of speech is also being able to freely decide what you will say and share. I choose not to share hate, not to share something that could offend a friend of mine. If I owned The New York Times, I wouldn’t share the cartoon. I wouldn’t offend my fellow being.
Was Charlie Hebdo trying to promote hate? Of course not. They were making jokes about everyone and their intentions were not to start a fire.
Does this mean I don’t believe in the freedom of speech? Of course not. Everyone is granted the right to the freedom of speech and to share whatever they feel. But we are also granted the right to decide what we share.
Even if the American news channels did not share the picture because they are scared, I am glad. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone by sharing it. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone by blurring out the cartoon. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone and still managed to report the news.
Because being a journalist means reporting the news. Not offending others on the way.