Social Media and Freedom of Speech

Social media allows us the ability to interact with each other, sometimes anonymously, on a global scale.  Access to social media and governmental censorship varies among countries, though time and distance are effectively inconsequential to information transfer.

The recent attack at Charlie Hebdo which resulted in the deaths of 12 people initiated a global response on social media.  The assault was presumably motivated by anger toward the Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper that consistently lampooned religious figures, and did not shy away from other controversial topics.  The images of the 07 Nov 11 (left)  and  14 Jan 15 (right) Charlie Hebdo cover images are shown.

“100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
“All is forgiven”

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”) became synonymous with support for freedom of speech.  Conversely, the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasCharlie (“I am not Charlie”) became synonymous with anti-hate speech.  Much of the conversation has centered on this topic which is already complicated by a myriad of interpretations and consequences.

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I mention freedom of speech foremost in this blog because the purpose and intent of this is to provide a place for our community to learn more about ourselves and others.  Recognizing our individual intrinsic biases will help us make small changes in our daily lives.  A virtual forum provides anonymity yet allows us examine topics we may be cautious or uncomfortable to do in person.  Therefore, I request that users provide their first name with comments.  I urge you to read these posts, react to them, conduct further research on them, ask questions about them, and share your knowledge with your peers, friends, and family.