Editor-in-chief Gérard Biard of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was targeted in a terrorist attack in 2015, will be attending the freedom of expression conference in Lillehammer in May.

In a conversation on stage with Imam and lawyer Seyran Ates, Gérard Biard will, among other things, reflect on the state of censorship and freedom of speech in our time.

– Nowadays, in liberal democracies, censorship is no longer a state prerogative. It strikes mainly from private structures. It serves multinationals such as Facebook or Google, which do not want to upset their precious users, who are monetizing data. It becomes a weapon used by associations militating for the defense of strictly sectarian interests, or by groups of purity fanatics on the lookout for the slightest deviance, or even by mere individuals who believe that their emotions or their choices take precedence over any other societal or political consideration, Biard says in a statement to World Expression Forum.

On 7 January 2015, Charlie Hebdo was struck by a terrorist attack in its own offices in Paris. Twelve people were killed, and eleven were injured. The terrorist group al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the massacre, which was linked to the magazine’s satirical portrayal of political and religious leaders, as well as its publication of drawings depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Founded in 1992, Charlie Hebdo is known not only for its political satire, but also for investigative journalism on religion, politics, and culture.

Managing Director in World Expression Forum, Kristenn Einarsson, commends Biard’s participation at the freedom of expression conference:

– Gérard Biard is an important voice in the global conversation about freedom of expression. He has unique experience from journalism and satire. Despite serious threats and direct attacks, he continues his work and defense of freedom of speech. We are pleased that he will share his experience and knowledge during our conference in Lillehammer.

About World Expression Forum

World Expression Forum (WEXFO) is a meeting place and driving force for global cooperation to ensure freedom of expression for future generations. WEXFO organizes an annual global conference on freedom of expression that takes place in Lillehammer in May/June. The conference brings together experts, activists, journalists, academics and voices from around the world. In connection with the conference, WEXFO also organizes several youth events in Lillehammer and Utøya on freedom of expression.