In defence of Charlie Hebdo

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, Index on Censorship and PEN America has encouraged all those who believe in the fundamental right to freedom of expression to publish some of Charlie Hedbo's covers today (January 8 2014).

Publications taking part have been urged to select a cartoon, a range of cartoon or covers that they believe best reflect the right to free expression and publish these on their websites. The idea is a moment of unity in which we show that together we stand up for journalism and the right to free speech, no matter what, and to show our support and respect for those killed on January 7.

“The ability to express ourselves freely is fundamental to a free society,” said Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship. “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.”

“Satire is both a privilege and a necessity in a free society. The freedom to question, to expose, to mock ultimately makes institutions, belief systems, and leaders stronger. The resort to murderous vengeance for the crime of drawing and publishing cartoons represents a terrifying perversion of religious values and an assault on our shared values. No matter how offensive, speech is never a justification for violence,” said Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center.

“The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is tragic, but it is also proof of just how powerful cartoons and cartoonists can be. Despite threats and prior attacks, the publishers, editors, and cartoonists of Charlie Hedbo never relented in using satire to question the world around them,” said Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein. “CBLDF stands with Charlie Hebdo and their dedication to free expression.”

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