Posted on January 30, 2015

After Charlie Hebdo, Balancing Press Freedom and Respect for Religion

Jeffrey Gottfried and Michael Barthel, Journalism, January 28, 2015

About three-in-four Americans (76%) have heard at least a little about the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted January 22-25 among 1,003 adults. Of these, a majority (60%) says that it was okay for Charlie Hebdo to have published cartoons that depict the Prophet Muhammad, but nearly three-in-ten (28%) do not support the magazine’s decision to publish this material–saying it was not okay.


Opinions about the appropriateness of publishing the cartoons vary considerably among demographic groups. One difference that stands out is between whites and non-whites.

While seven-in-ten whites who have heard about the attack support Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish the cartoons, this is true of just 37% of non-whites. Instead, about half (48%) of non-whites decry the cartoons–saying it was not okay to publish them.