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Why Tele should have reprinted Charlie front cover

Your leader, "Why we won't reprint Charlie" (Jan 14), is dispiriting. You reduce the issue to one of genre (which you call "context").

The Belfast Telegraph is not a satirical magazine, therefore it needn't reprint the Charlie Hebdo cover.

But you know very well that the issue transcends genre. The Telegraph could have reprinted for two reasons.

One, because the cover is a breaking high-profile international news story.

Two, because the Telegraph could have grasped the opportunity to express solidarity with fellow journalists in defence of a free Press confronted by violent extremism. Many people and publications opposed the violence of the IRA honourably.

But the fact that Islamism is a truly international challenge to the West puts it in a different ballpark. This requires our response, and the response of the Press, to put principle above context.

If the Western mainstream Press feels queasy about religious caricature, or is afraid of violent doorstep repercussions, let it say so and admit that religion and violence are available opt-out clauses in its declaration of belief in our freedom of speech.

JOHN WILSON FOSTER

Portaferry

Belfast Telegraph

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