The Oberlin Review

In Wake of Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech for Some

Chloe Vassot, Contributing Writer

February 6, 2015

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

For obvious and grim reasons, January was a difficult month for France. Thinking about the massacre at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Jan. 7, and the complex and heated reactions that followed, has made my mind run in confused circles. The recent attacks revealed many contentious problems France has faced as a country. But perhaps no issue is as delicate as what many perceive as the hypocrisy in France’s laws regarding freedom of speech and expression. France is not America. There is no First Amendment that guarantees a near-absolute right to verbal liberty. French laws draw complicated lines around what types of speech are permissible, and hate speech directed against individuals or groups based ...

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