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Chinese media coverage of Charlie Hebdo attack objective, neutral

(Xinhua)    19:08, January 23, 2015

JAKARTA, Jan. 22 -- Chinese media's coverage of the terrorist attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was objective and neutral, and provided a reflective point of view on the root cause of the tragedy, an Indonesian political expert said.

The coverage of the deadly attack by extremists on the French magazine by Chinese media was on an objective and neutral footing, said Bambang Suryono, a political analyst, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, following some foreign media's blast on Chinese media's reports on the manslaughter.

On Jan. 7, two extremists, who were offended by Charlie Hebdo's caricatures mocking Prophet Muhammad of Islam, brutally raided the journal's office in Paris, leaving a total of 12 people dead.

"World Media, including the Chinese media, condemned immediately the terrorist attack," said Suryono, adding that a reflective viewpoint on the root cause adopted by Chinese media is reasonable after lamenting and mourning on the tragedy.

While violent attacks deserve severe condemnation, Suryono said, the satire on other people's belief illustrated in many caricatures of the French magazine should be limited.

The freedom of expression should be exercised with responsibility, a rule that all media should abide by, the analyst continued.

Western countries also impose restrictions on the freedom of expression when dealing with such sensitive topics as Fascism and Nazism, he noted, adding that there is no media in the world that can enjoy "absolute freedom."

There is also a law in Indonesia that forbids media from attacking and insulting others, Suryono said.

Last week, 5 million copies of the first issue of Charlie Hebdo since the attack were sold out with Islamic prophet Muhammad still on the front cover page, triggering massive outcry and protests among Muslims around the world.

Insulting other people's religious belief could inevitably draw criticism, and even breed radical thoughts, thus endangering social peace and stability, Suryono warned.

"We need to uphold the principle of mutual respect on this issue, otherwise the hatred between the West and the Muslim world will never end," Suryono said, adding that it is normal that the satirical weekly drew so much criticism, including Pope Francis, who said that there are limits to freedom of speech, especially when it insults or ridicules someone's faith.

The West, he said, always stands for their own political interest, while keeping a blind eye on themselves, as is demonstrated in the coverage of PRISM, a highly confidential intelligence program disclosed in 2013 by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Suryono added that the double standard can be further shown in Western coverage of the terrorist attack on China's southwestern city of Kunming in 2014, which killed 31 people and injured 141 others. However, the Western media were reluctant to call the murderers terrorists.

The Western media should be more neutral and objective in their coverage and abandon their double standards, according to Suryono.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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