Charlie Hebdo conference cancelled due to 'lack of risk assessment'

A conference due to take place in Belfast on the Charlie Hebdo attacks has been cancelled due to a lack of risk assessment.

Queen's University, Belfast (ŠiStockphotos)
Queen's University, Belfast (ŠiStockphotos)

The conference, which was due to take place at Belfast's Queen’s University in June, was cancelled as no risk assessment had been completed. The university’s vice chancellor Patrick Johnston said he cancelled due to the security risk and concerns for QUB's reputation, according to the BBC.

Speaking on Radio Ulster on Wednesday morning, Professor Max Silverman from Leeds University, who had been due to speak at the event, said: "It is deeply ironic that what was going on in Paris this year to do largely with freedom of speech is actually being replicated by the university itself.

"There is a bitter irony in that the ability to discuss these topics has been taken away from us by this university decision."

A statement from Queen’s University said: "As part of managing the health and safety of the institution, it is a requirement for all major events to have a full risk assessment completed prior to them going ahead on the campus. 

"Unfortunately the proposed symposium organised by the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities did not have a completed risk assessment and, as a result, the institute has cancelled the event.

"This issue is not related to academic freedom and Queen's continues to uphold the importance of academic freedom in a world-class institution and has demonstrated this over many years."

After the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris this January, the industry spoke to C&IT on the importance of vigilance, while at the same time refusing to give in to terrorism.


Opinion: Living with terror but not in terror

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