Thursday, October 1, 2020 ((rezonodwes.com)) – “In the midst of the trial of the January 2015 terrorist attacks, Charlie Hebdo, created to bypass the censorship of Gaullist power, looks back on half a century of fights for freedom of expression, in a book in bookstores Thursday.
Entitled “Charlie Hebdo, 50 years of freedom of expression” (ed. Les Echappés), this book retraces over 300 pages the eventful history of the satirical weekly and its incessant struggle, from its creation, to defend and bring this freedom to life, through the reproduction of drawings, reports, editorials, which marked the history of the newspaper, preceded by a text from its director Riss.
“It jumped out at us when we looked at our archives to evoke these 50 years: during these 50 years, the entire trajectory of Charlie, born of a censorship, has been marked by this combat, “Gérard Biard, editor-in-chief of the satirical newspaper told AFP.
Char lie Hebdo was indeed created in response to measures taken by the government in 1970 to try to silence the monthly Hara Kiri, which had dared to headline, after the death of General de Gaulle in Colombey-les-deux-églises, ” Tragic ball in Colombey, one dead ”. An allusion to the fire of a dance hall which had killed more than a hundred people that month.
The Ministry of the Interior had decided to ban the posting and sale to minors of Hara Kiri . The monthly team had the idea of launching a weekly version to get around this virtual ban: Charlie Hebdo was born, a nod to the late general.
– Wink to the “general” –  The weekly ceased to appear in 1982, but was relaunched ten years later, after the editorial staff of another satirical newspaper, Grosse Bertha split up.
The work shows the evolution of the subjects covered by the newspaper and the forces which it attacks with a humor which is always pungent, thanks to the talent of its teams.
“Throughout his life, Charlie Hebdo was confronted with forms of censorship, initially a classical and institutional censorship ”which is exercised via“ an incalculable number of trials, in particular on the part of the army ”, summarizes Gérard Biard.
Gradually, as the case law consolidates the newspaper, this institutional censorship gives way to “religious associations”, initially Catholic, which trial “with the strategy of drying us financially”, without success.
From now on, efforts to silence the newspaper are mainly the responsibility of “individuals or groups of individuals, who proclaim themselves to such and such a cause, sometimes in the name of very just causes, but which are guided by a form of Puritanism, a search for absolute purity, including in the ideological struggle, ”he notes.
– Traumatismes –
The book obviously returns to the “often complicated relationship with other media” and to events such as the publication of the caricatures of Mohammed, and its enormous repercussions. He first recalls the context, too often forgotten today, which led Charlie Hebdo to publish these Danish cartoons in 2006: it was a question of protesting against the dismissal of the editor-in-chief of the daily France Soir, who had been the first French newspaper to dare to publish these drawings.
And Charlie finds himself at the heart of a lawsuit brought by the Paris Mosque, the UOIF and the World Islamic League, in 2007, an “unnatural” alliance, according to Gérard Biard, who sees it as a form of resurgence of institutional censorship. There again, the trial will lead to an acquittal.
But in 2011 will follow the fire against the headquarters of the newspaper, then the massacre of January 2015. As many traumas which do not prevent Charlie from continuing to trace his path, in using the same tools as when it was created.
“Satire and caricature use language which is a way of highlighting what other media cannot. We have been accused a lot of provoking, but it is a tool to enlighten, our tool of expression, to take a step aside “, explains Gérard Biard.
fpo / may / cbn
© Agence France-Presse