In an interview with a French radio station, Laurent Léger, an investigative reporter at Charlie Hebdo and one of the survivors of the recent terrorist attacks, criticized the hypocrisy of certain world leaders who marched in solidarity with the magazine’s staff — specifically those who represented countries that prosecute journalists.
“You have to be very happy [President Barack Obama] didn’t come to the march in Paris,” Léger told France Info (translated by the Huffington Post.) “[His administration’s actions are] an absolute scandal. It’s very good he didn’t come to the march that day.”
Obama and his administration took plenty of flack for sending the U.S. Ambassador to France as the country’s representative, with an official admitting that they should have sent someone with a “higher profile.” However, Léger remarked that they, as well as the British, had gone too far in punishing journalists reporting on government, and that Obama’s presence at the march would have been unwelcome.
As for the other world leaders whose countries have histories of silencing journalists, Léger called their presence “incredible and ludicrous,” and regretted that his cartoonist colleagues weren’t around to see them marching on behalf of a free press: “If they had, they would have made some fantastic cartoons.”
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