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Unpublished Paper
WHEN DOES CULTURAL SATIRE CROSS THE LINE IN THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS REGIME? – “Charlie Hebdo Controversy” Discussion and Its Implication for a New Paradigm of the Bounds of Freedom of Expression
ExpressO (2016)
  • Dr. Kwang-Hyuk Yoo
Abstract
Our modern times rest on a firm basis of the spirit of tolerance that calls upon us to practice generosity to disparate ideas, cultures or religions of others. But the tragic terrorist attack in France on January 7, 2015, commonly known as the Charlie Hebdo Shooting, shattered deep-rooted complacency about the absolute protection of freedom of expression and exposed the ideological conflict between Islam and the West. The Charlie Hebdo controversy shows us how fragile an achievement it is to create societies where any negative opinion can be unlimitedly tolerated in the name of freedom of expression in this era of undisputable cultural diversity. Whether the Charlie Hebdo’s satire of an Islamic taboo falls outside the scope of absolute protection of freedom of expression still remains controversial. Nonetheless, a moderate view of cultural relativism in human rights discourse suggests that human rights are subject to restrictions when the society faces a serious threat to its integrity. This suggestion implies that the concept of human rights needs to be construed as admitting neither complete exclusion nor unconditional endorsement of cultural relativism. The relative universality of human rights rejects blind normative conformity across the cultural spectrum and rather respects cultural diversity. While invariable universal values are doubtlessly inherent to human rights, their interpretation and enjoyment should not disregard peculiar cultural identities integral to their respective societies because mores and habits of thought and action tend to quickly spread and remain deeply rooted in the society.
Keywords
  • Charlie Hebdo,
  • Human Rights,
  • Cultural Relativism,
  • Identity Politics,
  • International Human Rights Law,
  • Islamic Law,
  • Social Integrity,
  • Cultural Diversity,
  • Universal Relativism
Publication Date
2016
Comments
I hope that this article gives global law community legal insight over the Charlie Hebdo controversy in the context of international human rights law.
Citation Information
Kwang-Hyuk Yoo. "WHEN DOES CULTURAL SATIRE CROSS THE LINE IN THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS REGIME? – “Charlie Hebdo Controversy” Discussion and Its Implication for a New Paradigm of the Bounds of Freedom of Expression" ExpressO (2016)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kwang_yoo/1/