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Politis - Cyprus | 18/01/2016

Charlie Hebdo's new Alan cartoon goes too far

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has triggered a fierce debate on the social networks with a cartoon on the New Year's Eve attacks in Cologne that depicts an older version of the dead refugee boy Alan as a molester. The magazine has really gone too far now, the liberal daily Politis criticises: "Unfortunately the cartoonists have lost all sense of proportion. Their black humour has turned into meanness and become personal. Imagine how Alan's father will feel if he sees this cartoon. You can't 'exploit' a picture of a drowned boy and hope that the readers will see the sense behind this. … Satire should not and cannot be censored. But a certain internal balance is necessary. You have to set your own limits to prevent satire from getting nasty or turning into a crude joke." (18/01/2016)

Salzburger Nachrichten - Austria | 14/01/2016

15 years of justified faith in Wikipedia

The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia will celebrate its 15th birthday tomorrow. Four out of five Internet users have rightly trusted its content since day one, the Christian-liberal daily Salzburger Nachrichten comments: "Clearly the mass of users has forced Wikipedia to be more objective - at least regarding big topics that are read every day by millions and poured over by thousands of editors. Added to that is the impressive speed of the Wikipedia community. David Bowie's death was posted on the German version at 7:30 a.m., while the German press agency dpa broadcast the breaking news at 8:12. We can safely put our trust in Wikipedia. But only for preliminary research. You can't gain a deep understanding of a subject simply through an encyclopaedia. That's the way things have been ever since Brockhaus's day." (14/01/2016)

Hürriyet - Turkey | 12/01/2016

1990s-style witch hunt in Turkey

Investigations were launched on Monday against the Turkish television station Kanal D after a caller in the popular programme Beyaz Show on Friday demanded more attention be paid to civilian casualties in the Kurdish conflict in the south-east of the country. The conservative daily Hürriyet warns of a witch hunt: "Accusing the presenter of an entertainment show of engaging in propaganda for a terrorist organisation although he has nothing whatsoever to do with it is unacceptable. ... In their fight against terror, some forces in the state are harking back to a trend that follows the state logic of the 1990s. No one can claim that this stance led to success in the past: in this respect the 1990s were both unsuccessful and painful. Trying once again to curtail freedom and gag critical voices will be of no avail." (12/01/2016)

Charlie Hebdo - France | 06/01/2016

Charlie Hebdo here with a vengeance

On the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, survivor of the shooting and new editor-in-chief, describes where the publication gets the energy to go on: "Everything we've experienced in the past 23 years gives us the anger we need. Never have we had so strong a will to kick the asses of all those who dreamed they could stop us in our tracks. Two little jerks in balaclavas aren't about to destroy our lives' work and all the wonderful moments we've had with those who were killed. They're not going to see the end of Charlie: Charlie will see the end of them. 2015 was the worst year in the history of Charlie Hebdo, because it forced us to put our convictions to the test: the worst torment for an op-ed newspaper. Would those convictions be strong enough to give us the energy to get back on our feet? You have the answer in your hands. The convictions of atheists and people with secularist views can move even more mountains than the faith of believers." (06/01/2016)

Proto Thema - Greece | 07/01/2016

Greeks fed up with Tsipras's lies

A newspaper that published a major interview with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the weekend didn't sell well at newsstands across the country. That's because people are no longer interested in what the leader has to say, the liberal weekly paper Proto Thema believes: "Very few copies of the newspaper that published the interview with Tsipras were sold. Something similar happened with the viewer numbers of the state-run television channel ERT when it broadcast an interview with Tsipras a month ago. ... Only a few months ago even the news that a media outlet would publish an interview with the prime minister would have caused a sensation in the world of journalism. ... Clearly the impact of the monstrous lies the government stuffed down the people's throats is making itself felt." (07/01/2016)

Eesti Rahvusringhääling - Estonia | 05/01/2016

Why we are stopping anonymous comments

Users of the website of the Estonian public broadcaster Eesti Rahvusringhääling will in future have to identify themselves with their electronic ID card in order to post their comments. The portal carried out a test to that effect at the start of the year. Editor-in-chief Rain Kooli believes this step is indispensable: "We know from history that the fear of all that is new and of an uncertain future combined with effective propaganda can lead to a very tragic ending when an imaginary enemy is suddenly replaced by real people. For that reason today more than ever a sense of responsibility is a key component of the freedom of speech and opinion. But the freedom of speech and opinion does not mean that everything is permitted. Keeping this freedom within the framework of legality, truthfulness, objectivity and basic politeness is the right of every journalist. No, not the right: the duty." (05/01/2016)

Göteborgs-Posten - Sweden | 04/01/2016

Swedish state shouldn't bully media

According to reports in the media the democracy report compiled by the statistics agency Swedish Statistics that is due to be published shortly contains a proposal that media source criticism be taught in schools. The liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten thinks little of the idea: "There is the risk that school lessons in source criticism would degenerate into the pure categorisation of information sources. … That would be precisely the opposite of an academic approach in which the arguments themselves are evaluated. … This newly awakened interest of the state in the media is worrying. Another study advises making state subsidies for press organs contingent on quality and democratic content. Money would therefore depend on content. In the long term such rules could have a devastating impact. State scrutiny is no guarantee for free and independent media." (04/01/2016)

Postimees - Estonia | 04/01/2016

Hate speech a security threat

The liberal-conservative daily Postimees has announced that it will discontinue the anonymous commentary function on its website on February 1. Police officer Joosep Kaasik praises the step in the paper as a sound measure for countering hate speech: "Hatred leads to more hatred, and sooner or later to major changes in society - or even in the world order. Hatred against certain groups of people has resulted in military conflicts and genocides. For that reason people in Europe have been trying to make hate speech subject to legal regulation for years. In Estonia inciting hatred is banned by the constitution. ... Up until last year, however, hardly any use had been made of the articles in the Penal Code regarding the offence of inciting hatred. Now the situation has changed and attention has been brought to weak points which had previously gone unnoticed because the law was so seldom applied." (04/01/2016)

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