Journalists join global condemnation of Paris killings

By agency reporter
January 7, 2015

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) joined in international condemnation of the killings of media staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its French affiliates the SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT.

The NUJ's Paris branch urged colleagues, members and supporters to join the demonstrations taking place at cities around Europe in sympathy with the Charlie Hebdo victims.

As the shocking news broke, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "The assassination of journalists at Charlie Hebdo, cynically targeted on press day to maximise casualties, is an attempt to assassinate the free press. Our hearts go out to the families of the journalists and police officers killed in this despicable raid. The newspaper had already been the subject of attacks by people who want to supress democracy and freedom of speech.

"These journalists have now paid with their lives; the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice. Supporters of free speech and civil liberties must stand together with governments to condemn this act and defend the right of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder."

According to latest reports, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), Cabu (Jean Cabut), Wolinski (Georges Wolinski), Tignous (Bernard Verlhac) and journalist Bernard Maris were among the twelve people who lost their lives in the attack by at least two armed hooded gunmen.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said: "We are profoundly saddened by this unprecedented attack on media which has sent shock waves across the global community of journalists. After the initial shock at this massive loss, the IFJ will work to muster all its resources, working with our affiliates in Europe and beyond, to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished and justice is done for the victims.”

Anthony Bellanger , IFJ deputy General Secretary, said: "Charlie Hebdo is a symbol of freedom of expression in France. An attack on an editorial office and killing journalists amounts to attacking the profession as a whole and also democracy."
James Overton, chair of the NUJ's Paris branch, said: "The cold blooded murder of our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo is a direct attack on one of the most fundamental human rights – the right to free expression. Some of the victims were known personally to members of Paris branch. We express our solidarity and support to all those close to the victims.

"The price of being a journalist is often the heaviest anyone can pay. The courage and commitment of our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo should be held up as an example to us all. We remain determined to work for a world in which freedom of expression remains intact. We call on members and supporters to join the demonstrations taking place at cities around Europe in sympathy with the Charlie Hebdo victims."

The IFJ unions in France reacted to the attack in a statement, with Vincent Lanier, SNJ’s first General Secretary saying, "there are no words strong enough to explain our sadness and anger. Killing journalists is an attempt to gag the profession as a whole and undermine democratic rule".

The IFJ said it will also take part in the Paris demonstration organised by its three main member unions: the SNJ (Syndicat National des Journalistes), the SNJ-CGT (Syndicat National des Journalistes de la Confédération Générale du Travail) and the CFDT (la Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail).

* NUJ: https://www.nuj.org.uk/

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