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French Radio attack on Chinese media over Charlie Hebdo "unjustifiable": Egyptian expert

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-01-20 21:17:09

CAIRO - The accusation of Radio France Internationale (RFI) against Chinese media over the tragedy of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was "unreasonable and unjustifiable," an Egyptian expert has said.

Chinese media covered the incident neutrally and professionally, Ammar Ali Hassan, a political writer and media professional, told Xinhua in an interview.

"The Chinese media handled it neutrally and with balance, as it criticized the fatal attack on the newspaper as inhuman and immoral that was also rejected by Muslims themselves, showing complete and sincere sympathy with Charlie Hebdo," he said.

"While the Chinese media rejected the criminal act of murder, it also criticized the newspaper's disrespect for freedom of belief and its transgression against religious symbols as also immoral," he added.

On Jan. 7, an armed attack on Charlie Hebdo office in Paris left 12 people dead, with fingers pointing at Islamist-oriented extremists offended by the paper's caricatures ridiculing Prophet Muhammad of Islam.

RFI launched accusations against Chinese media in its programs for discussing limits to freedom of speech after the terrorist attack.

Hassan argued that a media channel should neither impose restrictions on another, nor oblige other media to blindly side by its views without any reason or logic.

"It would have been better for the French media, which boasts of freedom of opinion and expression, to use the same standards and respect others' freedom of opinion while dealing with an event neutrally and without political polarizations," said Hassan, noting that Chinese media have never been reported as interfering in others' domestic affairs or deliberately offending others.

"The Chinese media only focuses on establishing strong relations with all parties and all countries," he said.

The expert stressed that there are distinctive limits between freedom and recklessness.

"Freedom without responsibilities, human and moral restrictions will turn into trespassing. The freedom of a person or a newspaper ends when others' freedom starts," he said.

He said 13 Catholic organizations have filed lawsuits against Charlie Hebdo at French courts for raising suspicion about beliefs, adding that the French law gives the society the right to maintain order through the judiciary.

Hassan argued that there are restrictions for media and freedom of expression even in Europe itself regarding specific issues, such as anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, Fascism, Nazism, among others.

"Western countries also impose strict limits on the media and the press when they are subjected to terrorism or engaged in wars. So, talking about infinite freedom is a myth," he said.

As for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Hassan noted that there is no sane person in the East or West who approves it.

"The killing of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is against Islam and against the tradition of the Prophet of Islam," he said.

Meanwhile, the expert stressed that the satirical newspaper does not enjoy a big status in France, saying its selling rate used to vary between 30,000 and 50,000 copies but after the terror act it sold 5 million copies.

"Does anyone have the right to make fun of others' beliefs?" he asked, lamenting that Charlie Hebdo used freedom of expression to attack freedom of belief, another freedom stated by the United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

"If a Western newspaper specifies a whole version to mock atheists, it will be criticized for transgression against their right of belief. How can the opposite happen in the name of freedom of expression?" Hassan asked.

Mocking any religion, sect, race, nation, culture or civilization should be rejected by all means and without any double standards, he concluded.

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