France pays homage to satirical press cartoons

French cartoonist Plantu, a founder of Cartooning for Peace, drew this cartoon on the five-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack

Five years after the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people and injured 11, France plans a new national centre to celebrate the satirical cartoon. Connexion spoke to cartoonist Kak, president of the Cartooning for Peace association, which will be helping to advise the government.

In January 2015, much-loved writers and artists were gunned down by religious extremists furious over Charlie Hebdo’s satire of religion.

In the aftermath many people took up the slogan ‘Je suis Charlie’, marched for freedom of speech or sent donations to help the publication, which has continued to publish weekly.

Charlie Hebdo is known for satirising those in power, whether politicians or religious figures, but last month, on the five-year anniversary of the tragedy, it hit out at “new censors” and “new dictators”, saying that with the rise of social media, satirists face new challenges to freedom of speech.

The edition was devoted to bloggers and social media commenters liable to denounce anything that offends their sensibilities on matters such as gender, sexuality, race or disability.

Topics covered included authors being told they should not write about any social groups outside their own experience, and publishers who are employing checkers to see manuscripts do not contain anything that may cause offence.

The idea of a Maison du dessin de presse et du dessin satirique was firist proposed by cartoonist Wolinski, among those killed in 2015.

Culture Minister Franck Riester said in an age where “threats still weigh on” satirical writers and artists, the centre will become a “meeting place” encouraging creation, celebration and promotion of the satirical cartoon, and supporting those involved.

He asked the head of the Centre National du Livre, ...

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