The Scottish Parliament has marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo magazine’s office in Paris.
French-born MSP Christian Allard proposed the motion that the parliament “reflect on the events that took place in Paris on 7 January 2015 at the Charlie Hebdo offices; remember the journalists, the police officer and others who fell victim to the attack; recognise the tragedy as an attack on the right of free speech” and further suggested that henceforth the date be designated a Cartoonists Day, an occasion when rather than dwelling upon the violent act of terrorists we remember the importance of humour, satire and tolerance of dissenting opinion as hallmarks of a healthy democratic society. Representatives from the SNP, Labour and Conservative parties spoke as well as Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe & External Affairs who responded on behalf of the Scottish Government. The debate was live streamed and the video can be found here.
The official transcript can be read here.
Pictured: Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe & External Affairs, Terry Anderson and Christian Allard MSP
Immediately afterward the Cross-Party Group on France met and PCO member Terry Anderson led a discussion on the wider trend of persecution of cartoonists around the world in 2015.
The Cabinet Secretary was again in attendance. This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the plight of colleagues harassed, prosecuted or imprisoned around the world, most especially Atena Farghadani, the recipient of CRNI’s Courage in Cartooning Award and whose release is the organisation’s top priority. Minutes from the meeting will be made available in due course via the CPG’s page on the Scottish Parliament website: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/msps/68055.aspx
Later in the day, Terry spoke to BBC radio’s Newsdrive about the event (from 01:19:40) and you can listen here.
And Christian Allard appeared on BBC television’s Scotland 2016 (from 11:00): view here.