Charlie Hebdo lecture draws hundreds and a second event is to be held at university

Je Suis Charlie lecture at University of Bedfordshire.
Je Suis Charlie lecture at University of Bedfordshire.

Students at the University of Bedfordshire have taken part in a thought-provoking lecture on the terrorist attacks in France.

Entitled Je Suis Charlie, the talk, arranged by the University’s Journalism department, tackled the major ethical issues brought to light by the Charlie Hebdo attacks - the lecture was so successful another is being held on Thurday, January 22 at the Bedford campus.

Discussion ranged from the UK national press’ coverage of the incident – notably the justification of publishing graphic imagery – to the question of the real motives of the terrorists.

Kate Ironside, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and who fronted the event, said: “The journalism team felt that given the seriousness of the implications of the events in Paris, it was important to have an event that would both stimulate and facilitate discussion. The ethical issues for journalists were immense.

“For society as a whole, there was the fundamental issue of what was the appropriate response to such an assault on freedom of speech and how or whether you should balance freedom of speech with consideration for the sensibilities of others.

“One of the important roles universities play is to stimulate discussion about major issues and the journalism team was delighted to be able to do so.”

Kate thanked attendees for the strong turn out, with around 200 students and staff from across the university taking keen interest.

Jack Beeston, a third-year broadcast journalism student, added: “The lecture helped students and staff to understand the pressures and tough decisions faced by journalists in such a situation.

“It helped people think about if the UK has a free press and whether or not we should have more freedom.”

Such was the popularity of the lecture, which required a room change to accommodate increasing numbers, a second lecture is set to take place at the Bedford campus on Thursday, January 22 at 1pm in D1.02.

Email Kate.Ironside@beds.ac.uk to book a seat.