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AEJ deplores the killing of a British woman MP during EU referendum campaign

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The Association of European Journalists condemns and deplores the murder of 41-year-old Labour Member of the British Parliament, Jo Cox, who was shot and killed after holding routine meetings with local residents in her Yorkshire constituency last Thursday. Jo Cox was a supporter of the UK remaining in the European Union. She had reportedly received threats of violence before the deadly attack. Such acts of extreme violence can have a chilling effect on the robust exchange of arguments, opinions and information which are the essence of open democratic societies. The UK media as well as political parties have rightly agreed to temporarily suspend the EU referendum campaign for several days as a sign of respect to Ms Cox, who was a wife, a mother of two young girls, and a newly-elected MP respected for her integrity, tolerance and compassionate concern for the plight of Syrian refugee children. Remembering the death of the leading Swedish politician Anna Lindh in 2003, we deeply regret that a woman politician has again been murdered during an EU-related referendum campaign. Jo Cox’s death, at the height of a fiercely-fought and sometimes aggressive campaign before the 23 June referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, reminds us of the importance of tolerance and rationality as well as passion in the conduct of public life, and in the reporting and debating of controversial matters in all kinds of media.

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