The Association of European Journalists utterly condemns the vicious, cold-blooded attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris which has left 10 media staff and 2 policemen dead and many others injured, according to reports.
This is the most bloody attack ever carried out against journalists in France or anywhere in Europe. The international AEJ joins its colleagues in the association’s French section in expressing horror at this barbaric act against press freedom; as well as deep condolences to the relatives of the victims and solidarity with all the staff at Charlie Hebdo.
We urge the French authorities to take all necessary measures to provide effective protection to members of the media and others who may be at increased risk of further attacks.
The magazine has earned a reputation for the fearless assertion of the fundamental right to free speech, including through satirical cartoons, in the face of many threats of violence down the years. In 2006 Charlie Hebdo defied such threats by re-printing a set of Danish cartoons which had enraged a segment of Moslem opinion in Denmark and elsewhere. And in 2011 its offices in Paris were destroyed in an arson attack after it published an original cartoon portraying the prophet Muhammad.
Today we are bitterly reminded that freedom of speech and press freedom are increasingly under attack, even in Europe, and that all inquiring journalists are now liable to face the risk of violent attacks because of their work.
Freedom of expression and opinion are fundamental European values that need to be defended at all costs.
This Statement was issued by the Board of the Association of European Journalists on 7 January 2015