Je suis Charlie

2015-01-11 15:00

Last year 61 journalists around the world were either killed in the line of duty or because of the work they were doing.

This was the highest in many years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

A further 221 were jailed by governments wanting to silence their voices, a figure the CPJ says is the highest in 24 years.

In the past 12 months, governments have jailed artists, musicians, activists and ordinary citizens for “insulting” religions, rulers and security forces.

Some of these included Tunisian rapper Weld El 15, who posted his song titled The Police are Dogs on the internet. Earlier this month, Kenyan blogger Alan Wadi Okenga was given a yearlong prison sentence for calling Uhuru Kenyatta an “adolescent president”.

By far the most horrific attack on freedom of speech was the massacre of 12 employees of the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.

That such incidents are still taking place and escalating in the 21st century is hugely disconcerting.

This is an age in which the human race is supposed to be more enlightened, a lot more tolerant of divergent thought and belief, and much more thick-skinned when it comes to dealing with offence.

In South Africa we have worked hard to create a culture of openness. Our Constitution and laws protect and promote freedom of expression, but also provide a framework for this right not to be abused.

Although there have been attempts to infringe on this space through regulation, intimidation and mob rule, South African society has stood firm and insisted it wants to be free.

South Africans should entrench this culture of openness. We should speak up for those who do not enjoy the freedom we have and those whose freedom is under attack.

Je suis Charlie.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.