Last night City Vibe headed to Finchley Road in Camden for a live discussion about the role of cartoonists in democracy. Times Commentator David Aaronovitch, Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg and acclaimed cartoonist Martha Richler debated censorship and the limits of freedom of speech.
This is is a charged topic with a very real presence in the lives of Londoners.
Recent events in Paris and Copenhagen have made the issues surrounding freedom of speech one of the capital’s major talking points.
Terrorist threats are reported on an increasingly regular basis leaving many Londoners fearful of impending attacks. And the negative press surrounding Islam has left many London Muslims feeling uncomfortable in modern day Britain.
A study released yesterday by ComRes showed that 46% of the 1,000 British Muslims polled felt that prejudice against Islam makes it difficult being a Muslim in Britain.
Nearly a third said they had some sympathy for the motives behind the Paris attacks while just under 80% said they felt offended when pictures of the prophet Muhammad are published.
The freedom of speech advocated in Finchley Road is not for everyone. Clearly there is a tension here between the unfettered freedom of speech celebrated by charity spokespeople like Jodie Ginsberg and the religious sensibilities of those Muslims polled by ComRes.
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