The press industry has united to condemn the attack against French satirical publicationCharlie Hebdo yesterday (Wednesday) as a barbaric attempt to suppress freedom of speech and democratic values.
Lynne Anderson, News Media Association deputy chief executive, said: “The News Media Association condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms. Free speech is a fundamental right and those who seek to supress it through violence are attacking not just journalism and the press but also the fundamental values of democratic society.”
The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association said: “ENPA, representing publishers of newspapers and news media in Europe, condemned in the strongest possible terms today’s armed attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which left at least 12 persons dead, including journalists and police officers.
“This atrocity is an attack on freedom of expression and press freedom, which is a core principle and pillar of European democracy. ENPA and all its members are appalled by this assault and remain united in the face of any threat to journalists and press publishers carrying out their daily role of informing citizens and fostering public debate.
“ENPA offers its profound sympathy to the families of the victims of this terrible attack. We express solidarity with our French member associations and with all French publishers and journalists for this dreadful loss of life.
“The attack on Charlie Hebdo underlines the necessity for all European decision-makers to defend strongly the principle of freedom of the press in both Europe and across the world.”
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum chief executive Vincent Peyrègne said:“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this outrageous atrocity and stand together with the Charlie Hebdo team and the entire journalistic community in France in demanding justice for the victims.
“With 61 journalists killed in 2014 and the new year beginning under such horrific circumstances, we are reminded that an attack of this nature strikes at the heart of the very freedoms that the press in France so passionately defends.
“It is not just an attack against the press, but also an attack on the fabric of our society and the values for which we all stand. This should be a wake up call for all of us to counter the rising climate of hatred that threatens to fracture our understanding of democracy.”
Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg said: “The ability to express ourselves freely is fundamental to a free society. This includes the freedom to publish, to satirise, to joke, to criticise, even when that might cause offence to others. Those who wish to silence free speech must never be allowed to prevail.”
Maureen Freely, English PEN president, said yesterday: “Today we are all horrified, devastated and appalled. But tomorrow we must look for new ways to stand together with writers and artists of all backgrounds and faiths and take courage from our shared commitment to free speech.”
Bob Satchwell, Society of Editors executive director said: “The terrorist attack on a magazine in Paris was this time aimed at a media organisation but it was in fact an attack on the whole of civilised society – including Islam. What is important is that it must not be allowed to interfere with freedom of expression to which everyone is entitled, including those with whom we disagree.”