After Charlie Hebdo, Local Editorial Cartoonists Defend Their Right to Satire

Jan 8, 2015

Credit Rob Rogers / Post-Gazette

In the aftermath of the shooting deaths of 12 people at a satirical weekly in Paris, what concerns does this tragic event raise for political cartoonists here at home? Award-winning political cartoonist Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Randy Bish, editorial cartoonist for the Tribune Review, discuss the Charlie Hebdo attack as an attack on free expression.

Rogers and Bish agree that the attack has put editorial cartoonists in a precarious and sensitive position. Yet, in defense of the right of self-expression, both have responded to the event with political cartoons of their own that criticize the attackers.

“A cartoonist’s nature is to be sort of provocative and a rebel, and I think that if you tell them they can’t do something, I think they’re going to want to do it even more,” Rogers argues.

Credit Randy Bish / Tribune-Review

Bish agrees that the attack will not silence the topical, critical impulse behind editorial cartoons. He maintains that satire is a powerful tool for social commentary and criticism -- “a very important part of any free society.”

Rogers says that he feels the Charlie Hebdo terrorists do not represent the mainstream of Muslim belief. He suggests, however, that non-Muslims should not be expected to adhere to the standards of the religion, including its scriptures regarding images and satire.