Free speech must not be held to ransom

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In past cases of attacks on publications, our media outlets have alw­ays dec­lined to show the off­ensive cartoons or other material, purportedly to avoid further offence to the wider Muslim community (but more likely for fear of attack themselves).

Not this time, please. Get them up there on all our TV screens, at the start of every news programme and at the end, too. Get them on every newspaper front page this week.

Webmasters: display them on your home page, and councils, put them on the sides of buses and on billboards. Let us make it so there is nowhere these scum can turn without seeing the images that upset them so much.

Let the effect of this attack be the complete opp­osite of that which they had hoped for. Apologies to peace-loving Muslims who find this strategy offensive, but you will just have to be offended.

We can longer allow our right to free speech to be held to ransom by terrorists. Not any more. Not after this.

Colin Hunter

Hollyhock Glade

Livingston

You say that part of the purpose of the murders carried out in the headquarters of the French Charlie Hebdo (leader, 8 January) was to “provoke a disproportionate response”.

This is completely wrong. The sole purpose of these killings was to attack the very concept of free speech and the killers had ample evidence that they would get away with it, even before this atrocity was carried out.

All over Europe, governments are attacking the concepts of a free market of goods and a free market of ideas and, for many years, the supposedly free press has carried out self-censorship regarding the religion of Islam.

What is required from those who do not wish to submit to totalitarianism is to publish the magazine cartoons widely and to proudly defend the idea that free speech is a fundamental human right.

Bruce Crichton

Victoria Road

Falkirk

The outrage at Charlie Hebdo can be neither excused nor forgiven. Nor must be it be forgotten, but it can be exp­lained.

Those who say, act or cartoon in the name of free speech often find it con­venient to omit the attendant qualification, which is
that while speech should be free it should also be responsible.

It is a cliché by now that we do not have the right to yell Fire! Fire! in a packed theatre even if there is a fire, as orderly exits save more lives than mad panics.

In exercising freely what we may regard as our God-given right to insult people in our way, the risk is run that they will freely exercise their 
God-given right to retort in their way.

Those who play with fire do undertake a certain risk; it can be terminally naïve to assume otherwise.

Tim Flinn

Garvald

East Lothian

Will the penny now finally drop that the ongoing existence of Islamofascists inevitably invites the most appalling atrocities?

These people cannot be reas­oned with and they
cannot be appeased.

They can only be destroyed. Unfortunately, our armed forces (and those of our allies) aren’t even being “asked” to do this.

Think about it. How many members of al-Qaeda have we killed this week? How many of Islamic State? How many of Boko Haram? How many of 
al-Shab­aab?

This is no way to win a war.

Keith Gilmour

Netherton Gate

Glasgow

Governments and world leaders appear short on solutions to adequately address acts of terrorism.

The recent terror attack in Paris seems to have produced more empty statements from politicians.

I think we, the people, need to empower our security services, police and military with the ability to fight terror without their hands being tied behind their backs. 

Recent investigations into the CIA and demands for the same within MI5 have weakened our national and international security.

Terrorists murder and executes women, children and now cartoonists.

They are not bound by or deterred by human rights legislation. 

Give our security services immunity from prosecution.

To ask the security services to keep us safe and then question the very manner by which they provide it is a failure to protect our democracy and human rights.

Malcolm McDonald

Limepark Crescent

Kelty, Fife

One response to the despicable attack in Paris would be for newspapers throughout the civilised world to come together and publish cartoons that gently poke fun at all religions… and none, including Humanism.

If we are cowed into not using our freedoms, including the freedom of the press to satirically challenge our beliefs, then perhaps we deserve to lose them.

Bob Scott

Registered Humanist
celebrant

Balmaha Road

Drymen

Moi aussi, je suis Charlie.

Mike Bartlett

Brue

Isle of Lewis