REVIEW: Charlie Hebdo and the free speech conflict

Keywords: cartoonists, war on terror, Charlie Hebdo, jihadists, freedom of expression, satire, vigipirate, racism, Islamophobia, France


After Charlie Hebdo: Terror, Racism and Free Speech, edited by Gavan Titley, Des Freedman, Gholam Khiabany and Aurélien Mondon. London: Zed Books. 2017. 313 pages. ISBN 9781783609383

IN OCTOBER 2016, I returned to that stunning and iconic French eighth monastery Mont St Michel, once also a post-Revolution jail for political prisoners, and was struck by the sight of a garrison of soldiers – part of the Vigipirate programme. Vigipirate has parallels with the US Homeland Security Advisor system and has now been in place in various forms for almost 26 years, since Bush’s Gulf War in 1991. Based on laws adopted in 1959 during the Algerian War of Independence, it was first suspended for a while after the Gulf War and then introduced again in 1995 after a car bomb blew up outside a Jewish school in Lyon. Vigipirate has since then gone through various phases and updates with the 1995 Paris Metro bombing, 2004 Madrid terror train attack and the 2005 London underground bombing. Official documents now designate the programme as ‘permanent’.


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Author Biography

David Robie, Pacific Media Centre - AUT

Editor of Pacific Journalism Review and Professor of Communication Studies and Journalism

School of Communication Studies

Auckland University of Technology


Cross, T. (2015). Vigipirate, France’s ‘temporary’ anti-terror plan celebrates 20th birthday. Radio France Internationale (RFI). Retrieved from

Todd, E. (2015). Qui est Charlie? Sociologie d’une crise religieuse. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

After Charlie Hebdo cover
How to Cite
Robie, D. (2018). REVIEW: Charlie Hebdo and the free speech conflict. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 24(1), 242-245.

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