Monday media mêlée.
Six writers are withdrawing as literary hosts of the PEN American Center annual gala because of the decision to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo (4,000+ shares). One writer noted he withdrew in protest of honoring a publication he suspected guilty of "racist and Islamophobic provocations.” Reason's Matt Welch chose to frame it a little differently: "A bunch of f***ing PEN poobahs are disinviting themselves because they think dead cartoonists might have been racist." (Welch then published this). "The immense bravery of...skipping out on a black-tie gala," ribs Newsweek's Alexander Nazaryan. "Freedom of speech = vigorously defending those who offend you most. Amazes me PEN members don't understand this," reacts Globe and Mail's Doug Saunders. However, former PEN president Salman Rushie probably put it best, arguing, "If PEN as a free speech organization can’t defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly the organization is not worth the name."
Another top media story comes from Japan, where attempts to stifle reporting seem to be working, as NYT's Martin Fackler tells it (3,100+ shares). "Remember when Japan's media ranked among the freest in Asia? @facklernyt on the Abe government's squeeze on the press," tweets David Jolly with the International New York Times. In the U.K., the Guardian is backing the campaign to reclaim Brixton from the gentrification that is pricing out ethnic minority groups there (4,400+). "Basically perfect," praises Sid Verma at Euromoney.com. Last, Daniel Victor helpfully shares the one word reporters should add to Twitter searches that you probably haven’t considered (170+).