Financial Times Scrubs Claim Charlie Hebdo was 'Stupid' to Publish Muhammad

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The Financial Times scrubbed two controversial comments from an opinion piece by Europe editor Tony Barber about yesterday’s attack on Charlie Hedbo magazine.

Specifically, the Financial Times removed Barber’s claims that Charlie Hedbo exhibited “editorial foolishness” and said it had “just been stupid” to publish the Muhammad cartoons, Agence France Presse reported.

Those changes weren’t disclosed in the online version of the column; however, a vague note at the bottom of the article reads, “This article is an expanded and updated version of an earlier blog posted on January 7.”  A Financial Times spokesperson Darcy Keller told the AFP the changes were “part of the editing process.”

Barber noted in his article that he wasn’t saying the attack was justified or that satire is problematic, commenting the attack was “despicable and indefensible.” But, his article, “The gunmen in Paris attacked more than a Muslim-baiting magazine,” criticized Charlie Hedbo for not having any “common sense” adding that “Charlie Hedbo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims.”

Barber received much criticism in the comments and online with conservative news site Breitbart calling Barber’s column “victim-blaming on steroids” and “cowardly.” Below see screenshots of several comments on the FT article.

Meanwhile, the FT‘s John Gapper argued on Twitter that critics of Barber’s column don’t understand “the distinction” between Barber’s opinion article and the position of the FT.


He also pointed out that the Financial Times issued its own editorial, which took a different stance from Barber.  The FT‘s editorial called the attack on Charlie Hedbo “a dreadful terrorist atrocity” that “can only provoke the most profound revulsion.”

In contrast with Barber’s post, the editorial was headlined, “A murderous attack on freedom of expression: The right of Charlie Hebdo to lampoon religion should not be in doubt.”

The editorial stated: “Charlie Hebdo may be a very different publication to our own, but the courage of its journalists — and their right to publish — cannot be placed in doubt. A free press is worth nothing if its practitioners do not feel free to speak.”



iMediaEthics has written to Barber and the Financial Times for comment and more information.



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Financial Times Scrubs Claim Charlie Hebdo was ‘Stupid’ to Publish Muhammad Cartoons

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