In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings and North Korea’s reaction to the “The Interview,” should there be a line drawn on press freedom in satire?

A political cartoon by Daryl Cagle

A political cartoon by Daryl Cagle

Yes, there should be only one line drawn through freedom in satire, and that line should be through censorship.

I can’t think of a better way to let political leaders abuse their power over media than to censor political satire.

In fact, because of the lackluster information mainstream media provides, I get most of my information from satirical news shows like Colbert Report and Jon Stewart.

—Michael Gifford



Respect. Respect can go a long way. It’s something that we demand, but are hesitant to give out.

Bottom line is that both the Charlie Hebdo killings in France and the uproar of anger from North Koreans over the release of “The Interview” stem from a lack of respect.

Charlie drew a comical portrait of another religion’s god, while “The Interview” joked about the assassination of a country’s dictator. Both were not done with malicious intentions, but their lack of respect for other countriesʻ cultures wasn’t taken lightly.

So while I don’t believe we should draw a line for what’s okay and what is not okay, I do believe we need to have more respect for others and their cultural decisions. Give respect, get respect.

—Taylor Valade



The terrorists considered this a crime that should be punished by death. The terrorists felt that they were avenging the honor of their prophet by killing the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.

However some people have looked at the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and said, “Wait a minute! These cartoons really ARE vile, nasty, and offensive!…”

Did the cartoonists get what they deserved for mocking a religious figure? My opinion is that freedom speech is the most important freedom in our Constitution. Our press should be free to criticize anyone they want to criticize, and that includes drawing satirical cartoons. The press should not be restricted from criticizing or satirizing anyone. Readers may not agree with the satire. Readers are free to criticize the press, or to protest against the press, or to boycott the press.

But no one has the right to kill someone because of his or her speech. And that is my whole argument.

—William “Rusty” Vincent



In regards to both the Charlie Hebdo killings and North Korea’s recent reaction, I do not think a line should be drawn on press freedom in satire.

My main reason for my opinion is that there would be conflicting lines everywhere. Not every single person can possibly have all of their demands fulfilled. To avoid the terrorist attack in France, Charlie Hebdo would have had to bend their freedom of press values for the terrorists in France. From the opposite point of view, in order to fulfill everyone’s “line requirements,” the terrorists involved would also have to bend their values that are against the freedom of press ones that Charlie Hebdo holds so dear.

The same logic here can also be applied to North Korea’s reaction to the film “The Interview.” Unless everybody completely demolishes the human element in all of this, there will always be conflicting values among human beings.

—Angel DiSylvestro



The only reason that satire in the press has become a problem is because of how ignorant people have become.

We don’t understand the real issues well enough and, therefore, see the satire in media as truth.

If everyone had a good understanding of the current issues, the satire would obviously be seen as a joke and give some comedic relief from the serious tones of normal news.

It has become a challenge for many people to find good sources of important issues that have little bias in them.

— Malia Galindo



At the very cornerstone of our nation lies the intersecting freedoms of press and speech. Without these rights there would be very little in the way of the American people to stand up and rally against a tyrant.

Few know, or care to research, but the documents upon which our nation was founded were not written in the hopes that every American citizen would grow up to be a shiny, happy person. They were written with the intent of giving the people a means to organize dissent and chaos in the event that a second revolution became necessary.

Freedom of the press is an absolute necessity in order to ensure that whatever powers may be in charge at that moment cannot hide the darker corners of their administration from the public eye. There has already been entirely too much freedom taken from the press in recent years — case in point: Edward Snowden.

Satire is used as a humorous way to point out fault in current societal norms that are, in fact, stupid or vice. Satire has become a popular way to address American youth. No one wants to read about the “dangers of smoking” but if an article is headlined “Man Quits Cancer With Monthly Doses of Nicotine,” accompanied by a before and after picture of a sickly gentleman alongside a healthy bodybuilder, people will stop to skim the article. That is all satire is, an attempt to get people thinking and it appears to be effective on the current generation of the “hyper informed.”

Charlie Hebdo employees were playing with fire, and sadly, they were burned. One life lost in the name of a cartoon is too much but there is no reason to restrain the press for the actions of terrorists. There was value in their work and the people who died knew it. To use their deaths to regulate the thing they loved doing would be doing their legacy a severe disservice.

Freedom of speech is protected just the same as the press. It is governed by the founding documents of our nation; it may be the more important of the two in the current age.

Gone are the days of there being three news channels where everyone received the information that was sorted and prepared specifically for the populace. Anyone who has an Internet connection and some spare time can voice their opinion to the world, which is fitting, as the Internet was the delivery mechanism for “The Interview.”

While I found the movie crass and immature, its satirical value is without question. It took information that had been readily available to the world, rebranded it as “humor” and sold the truth, along with some dirty jokes. There are numerous references in the movie to actual issues facing North Korea, including the famine, the opulent lifestyle of ‘dear leader,’ and the ridiculous stories surrounding Kim Jong Un.

While these examples tie into current events, that is not the reason for the freedoms afforded to American citizens. Press and speech are there to keep the people informed. They are not there for keeping Americans happy and safe. That’s why you are allowed to pursue happiness on your own with all the guns you want.

What Americans seem to lose sight of is that security comes at a cost and when the government is in charge of security and safety, the rights of the people simply must be infringed.

In closing, I leave you with a quote from one of our greatest presidents and orators: “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.” –Abraham Lincoln

— John Ferguson