French Cartoonist Conference Cancelled Amid Fears of Attacks

Le Mémorial de Caen Museum in Normandy, France Photo: Calvados Tourisme

The Le Mémorial de Caen Museum in Normandy, France has cancelled a planned cartoonists’ conference in April over security concerns, Monopol reports.

The institution said that its website had been targeted by cyber attacks six times in the last few weeks. In light of the recent deadly shootings by Islamist extremists in Copenhagen and Paris, the museum decided not to take any risks (see Who is Swedish Cartoonist Lars Vilks, Targeted by Jihadists in Copenhagen Shooting? and 12 Killed at Magazine Previously Attacked for Satirical Cartoons).

According to Europe Online Magazine, museum director, Stéphane Grimaldi, explained via Twitter “We cannot peacefully organize the next events with cartoonists in the same spirit they have always been held.” He emphasized, “Under no circumstances can we take any risks vis-a-vis the cartoonists, the public, and the employees of the memorial.”

Reacting to the news in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, the Swedish cartoonist Ann Telnaes wrote “I was angry about the cancellation because it again reminds me of the Paris murders and the senseless violence which is now a sad fact of my profession. I have said repeatedly ever since the Danish cartoon controversy in 2006 that there is no justification for violence if one is offended by a drawing.”

However she conceded that “I fully understand the organizers’ reasons for cancelling the event; they have the responsibility of not only the safety of the invited cartoonists but also the safety of the community’s residents and businesses.”

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