CNN Explains Decision to Censor Charlie Hebdo Muslim Cartoons

CNN Explains Decision Censor Charlie Hebdo

In the wake of the devastating terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the deaths of 12 people, CNN, along with other news outlets, has chosen to censor the controversial cartoons that ran in the magazine.

The decision to censor cartoons, namely those with images that may be offensive to Muslims, sparked outrage on the Internet, with many calling on CNN especially to promote free speech. Wednesday afternoon, the news outlet issued a statement on the controversy.

“As this distressing story continues to evolve we are actively discussing the best way of addressing the key issues and images across all of our platforms,” a CNN spokesman said in a statement. “Those conversations will continue throughout the day and beyond as the story develops.”

Other news outlets, including the New York Daily News, the Telegraph and the Associated Press, have also chosen not to show the cartoons in full.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons have a history of controversy, especially those with images of Islamic prophet Muhammad. In 2011, the magazine was fire-bombed after publishing a special issue titled Charia Hebdo with a caricature of Muhammad on the cover.

CNN has aired photos of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier to show him posing with the magazine, but cropped the image to hide the cartoon.

Many took to Twitter throughout the day Wednesday to express outrage of CNN’s decision.

According to Politico, an internal memo at CNN told employees, “Although we are not at this time showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet considered offensive by many Muslims, platforms are encouraged to verbally describe the cartoons in detail.” The memo notes certain exceptions, such as if a Parisian is holding a copy of a cartoon in a video, as long as it is shot wide.

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  1. Chad says:

    Yet CNN has no problem showing an Image of Jesus Christ soaking in Human Urine. If their excuse for not showing an image of Muhammad is they do not want to offend the Muslims then by definition they must not be concerned about offending Christians by showing a very offensive image of Jesus Christ. Truth is Christians don’t storm into their offices and shoot everyone but Muslims might.

  2. preuser says:

    Try the Blaze (Glenn Beck and pretty far right wing) but not afraid to show the cover !

  3. Marianne Malec says:

    All CNN talks about day and night is the tragic murders in Paris. It is fine for them to milk the story and blather on about freedom of the press etc. CNN you are not standing in solidarity with the world. You are mealy mouthed cowards pandering to your Moslem audience. You should be ashamed of yourself for not standing up for freedom. You suck.

  4. Richard says:

    Why does CNN and other liberal rags have a problem posting the cartoon of mohammed, and yet, they don’t have a problem showing Jesus Christ on the cross in a jar of urine. You dumb ass liberals don’t get it. If radical islam took control of the world, the liberals would be the first to lose their heads.

  5. 24/7 runs of the cartoon on all networks should be the response says:

    Shameful and cowardly. All major news outlets should unite and show the news as the news. We should be united and strong. Charlie Hebdo should have never been left out there alone and ever outlet should be showing the prophet 24/7 to make a statement of solidarity to the belief in free speech.

  6. Umar Labdo says:

    The 12 murdered in the Charlie Hebdo episode are victims of European and American hypocrisy and double standard.

    • Jim Kener says:

      The only way to support freedom of speech is to spit in the eye of those that would prevent it. The cartoon should be broadcasted in all forms across the world to show that those that would do violence to stop freedom of speech will only bring a spread of the message they hate.

  7. @jaketapper is obviously not paying attention to CNN rules . Cartoon was clearly held up and described on camera.

  8. I have only one opinion about what CNN stands for: Convenient News when Needed. Once more you have shown to the world that you are definitely for the money and not for real journalism. You have chickened out before in the face of real news collected by your own journalists at great risk of their lives in war times and conflicts. You are just another corporate coward watching dollars and bottom line. You are another McCompany interested on making money and who provides “convenient news” but not the real news as it happens. CNN is then just another sold out so-called “news” provider if you ask me. Shame on you for giving it to terrorist threats. Through out the years I have seen other news agencies publish things that you have refused to do because “the material did not meet CNN standards”. I guess your standards are just corporate profits and not exactly what the rest of the world expects from a news agency: real news as it happens with the good, the bad, and the ugly all included.

    I noticed your sneakiness and lack of real newsy meat long before about six years ago and that is why I stopped watching your channels. It was all convenience news but not the real news. I can get better news in the raw through the internet than whatever you have to offer so you will keep losing viewers because many of us are already getting our real news somewhere else. We do not need you anymore.

  9. Martin Fuller says:

    What cowards CNN have turned out to be, caving into Islamist scum. Grow a pair CNN or we will go to another news channel with the guts to show these images.

  10. Gradivus says:

    Among other evidence that CNN is, more than just being “sensitive,” totally caving into the Islamists, is the fact that in their instructions to their platforms to hide any depictions that might be thought of as representations of Mohammed, they refer to Mohammed as “the Prophet.” Not the Islamic prophet, a prophet, or one of the prophets, but THE Prophet. CNN is the perfect dhimmi network, expressing full submission to Islam in the wake of the killings.

  11. nad aka says:

    I’m muslim and i’m utterly digusted by the decision of some american media to censor Charlie Hebdo’s pictures an for not showing solidarity with journalists all other the world.

    I loved some of their pictures, didn’t like others, but i knew how much they were important for the freedom of speech. They were unique.
    And they were not racists, they were not islamophobe. They were “anticlérical” and it went for all religion.

    To some America Media : Please dont use us, muslims, to wash away your own cowardice. Own it.

    Stop giving credibility, importance and power to some illiterate barbabarians that you want to pass off as “THE muslims”. These are psycho, with or without religion.

    Je suis Charlie,
    From Tunisia

  12. Quenault says:

    Burka médiatique.
    #Je suis Charlie

  13. Etes vous Charlie ou non, CNN? Je suis Charlie. Nous sommes Charlie. Pourquoi pas vous, CNN?
    Are you Charlie or no, CNN? I am Charlie. We are Charlie. Why not you, CNN?

    Freedom of speech, CNN!!! Stand up CNN! If you stand up, all stand, CNN!!!
    If you lower your head, CNN, one lowered head will follow you, and then another, CNN!!!

  14. CK says:

    Have you forgotten that CNN ran the picture of the crucifix in urine…not censored then. This latest “censor” SHOWS THEY ARE COWARDS.

  15. Asephil says:

    Excellent! At least someone is using their brains for once! You can’t be interfering with people’s religion. Mind your own religion. I’m not a Muslim but everyone has a right to protect one thing they believe in. If you don’t sit and ask your self why these people turn to kill you it’s because you push them too hard and insult them.Bully them all over like its high school, of course they’ll retaliate and don’t blame them for standing up for themselves. We don’t accept violence but sometimes you just can’t take it anymore. Leave them alone and there will be peace. Thank you CNN for recognising that this situation is not about being afraid but its a way to respect someone’s religion. Big up guy!

    • Asephil: Using your flawed logic, I guess all of the Jews, Catholics, Christians, etc. who are offended by satirical content should now start murdering the content creators because they are offended by their content. If the content is censored because news outlets are afraid to offend, then free speech loses and terrorism wins. Please consider the Big Picture! I wholeheartedly disagree with your position.

  16. Carol jane says:

    How sad. How cowardly. I’m sure you also believe we should negotiate with terrorists. The terrorists have succeeded. CNN should be ashamed.

  17. Dave Rauschkolb says:

    No longer watching CNN after a very loyal following for decades and decades.

  18. Cian Molloy says:

    This headline is bogus — CNN has not given an explanation. ‘We are actively discussing the best way of addressing the key issues’ is not an explanation, it is a placatory comment

  19. Charlotte Lewis says:

    CNN and other cowardly media outlets are a disgrace to America. I’m not surprised as CNN has no credibility anymore, as they aren’t even representive of a news organization so much as a diseminator of speculation. Shame on you once again for not accurately reporting news and your decision to be sensative to these terrorists sensabilities..

  20. Brian says:

    Same network had no problem airing *enemy provided* footage of US soldiers being shot.

  21. dean says:

    CNN always plays it safe

  22. CravenCNN says:

    > CNN told employees, “Although we are not at this time showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet considered offensive by many Muslims, platforms are encouraged to verbally describe the cartoons in detail.

    Since when do we need to censor political cartoons to avoid the ire of a given group? Today’s deaths followed a wrong-headed view that things you don’t like deserve to be eliminated. Let’s not call that right.

  23. ravengirl57 says:

    CNN = Coward News Network

  24. FlaGuy954 says:

    Right on!

    • Chris says:

      I lean left with my politics but CNN’s decision to not publish the cartoon when it is newsworthy and I want to see it is cowardice at best. Freedom of the press is what has made our nation great and is what will advance the world. It is a cartoon for God’s sake! The harm CNN is doing by not publishing that magazine cover is more pervasive than the harm caused by the terrorists who slaughtered those journalists. I am now going to look elsewhere for the cover photo and if it is a news outlet, my opening page browser will be switched from CNN to that news outlet’s home page even if…gulp…it happens to be Fox News.

    • preuser says:

      Exactly ex NBC Hollywood types and ivy league B.S. left wing liberal bigots don’t make for good or truthful news!

      Maybe CNN will get sold to Fox that would be hella funny ……… Murdoch could go in and fire all those
      left wing bigots on the spot and send them packing !

  25. faithrc says:

    SHAME on cnn

    Je suis Charlie

  26. jhs39 says:

    I’m not sure how publishing cartoons that are highly offensive to Muslims is a victory for free speech. Yes, CNN and newspapers and magazines have the free speech right to publish cartoons featuring images of Mohammad that are considered blasphemous to 1.6 billion Muslims around the world but doing it because you can isn’t a good enough reason.

    • Who speaks for all 1.6 billion Muslims around the world? What laws entitle the offended to murder in the name of their religious beliefs? I personally do not believe that all 1.6 billion Muslims believe that murder is justified for this satirical material.

  27. John says:

    I cannot believe this. They showed cartoons of Jewish and Christians being made fun of but do not show the ones offensive to Muslims? Are you news or are you cowards? All news outlets other than Buzzfeed are cowards and an embarrassment to news

    • PG says:

      It’s a little akin to comparing apples and oranges, though – they’re both fruit, but..

      Sunni and other hardline Muslims specificially forbid ANY depictions of Muhammad. Not just cartoons or satire or condemnatory ones: ALL.
      So most-if-not-all Christians and Jews (and so on) have no problem with most depictions. Whereas several-to-many Muslims have a problem with any visual representations; and (presumably) then even more of a problem with the more… biting ones.

  28. One word applies to CNN or any other news outlet that censors the offensive material…COWARDS! Based on their insane mass murder over this satirical content, news organizations should go out of their way to expose the reason these 12 brave souls were murdered today. This will both irritate the murderers and pay tribute the the 12 individuals whose live were taken by these sub human life forms. Grow a pair CNN! I am proud to report that i do not watch your lame ass channel and NEVER will again!

  29. Sean Kennedy says:

    How many times have we’ve seen the Radical Muslims all over the world burn,spit and urinate on the American flag? Also along with their TV Networks mocking our leaders and religions with their cartoon illustration..CNN is the initial meaning:”Cowards Neutralizing News.Shame on you as the network that’s supposed to protect the freedom of the press.What about honoring those men and women reporters that have lost their lives protecting and reporting the news to the free world? The freedom of the American pres has always been the tapestry that has woven the truth and the right to express thier opinions..SHAME,SHAME on you CNN!!

  30. PETER JAY says:

    Liberal, leftist CNN=no balls!

  31. Nick says:

    CNN’s actions are a disgrace. Every newspaper in the civilized world should run these cartoons on their front pages tomorrow in a show of global solidarity — and to show the Islamists that they can’t silence freedom of speech.
    Imagine if Catholics or Jews behaved like this. Every member of Monty Python would be dead after the release of LIFE OF BRIAN.
    I hope to see tens of thousands of moderate Muslims in the streets of Europe tomorrow, protesting the hijacking of their religion by these extremists. But will we? There has been deafening silence from Muslim moderates in the face of acts of Islamic terror, whether in London, Sydney or Paris.

  32. As was done with The Satanic Verses, a collective of media organizations could publish the cartoons under one umbrella.

  33. Alex says:

    FOX and the Drudge Report are showing the cartoon.

    • PG says:

      Some media outlets also seem to think the cartoons are not SATIRIZING Islam but dismissing/mocking/condemning it. Which may explain some of the decisions TO show them.

  34. Although I am against censorship of any kind, we must take into consideration that lives are at stake at each news organization that ventures to post the cartoons. These news agencies have journalists stationed in Paris and other parts of the world that are in jeopardy of losing their lives.

    • Charlotte Lewis says:

      Your attitude is what rewards terrorists and encourages this behavior or murdering people to shut them up.

    • anbudmor says:

      Wrong, wrong, wrong. Every newspaper, TV station, radio station, in the world should broadcast the content of the ‘offending’ cartoons. If the CNN journalists in Paris think they are in the firing line, then let them move home.

    • Why says:

      So you’re not against censorship of any kind. When threatened with violence, you fold like a beduin tent.

  35. MarinDem says:

    CNN’s cowardly actions disrespects the memory of the real courageous journalist at Charlie Hebdo. I have long thought and now even more people know that when it comes to real journalism CNN is a bad JOKE :-(

  36. Quillblade says:

    I see what they’re doing here. I’ll bet these comics are available online. “What is that guy holding? Oh…Charia Hebdo? Hmm. I wonder what that is? Oh. It’s something controversial?”

    And suddenly people Google it. Then they find the whole thing. And they read it. Because CNN’s given them just enough to be curious about what it is. It sounds like they’re going to act like a commercial for a movie, rather than give plot spoilers for it…and they’re doing it in a way that doesn’t put people in danger. Way to go.

  37. Larry says:

    CNN stands for “We are left wing bigots with no interest in the truth.” Yes, they are really, really lousy at acronyms, also.

  38. ryan says:

    Because Charlie Hebdo is the brave one who call out muslims of their fhkry. They drew what majority thinks. Even China is afraid of muslims. Muslims will not hesitate to commit suicide and murder the innocents and bring chaos for islam.

  39. goodbyenoway says:

    In other words CNN is saying … “we’re a bunch of cowards.” During the controversy over the “Piss Christ” painting a number of years ago, CNN showed the painting over and over again. So, it’s okay to offend Christians, but not Muslims? Way to take a courageous stand, CNN. Shame on you!

  40. pops07 says:

    No wonder CNN is sinking in the ratings, along with the NYT’s diminished readership.

    • Ezzy says:

      Blame Jeff Zucker. He’s the ass running the network.

      • preuser says:

        “On November 29, 2012, CNN announced the appointment of Zucker as president of CNN Worldwide starting January 1, 2013. His tenure as CNN president has been less than successful. By January 2014, CNN’s ratings had plunged to a 20-year low,” – wikipedia-

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