Stand up for free speech. Publish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons

Also read: Don't let free speech die

08 Jan 2015


Index on Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, PEN America, FreeWord, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19 and English PEN call on all those who believe in the fundamental right to freedom of expression to join in publishing the cartoons or covers of Charlie Hebdo on January 8 at 1400 GMT.

We believe that only through solidarity – in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely – can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech. We ask media organisations, individuals and everyone who supports free speech to join together in this action.

Each publication will select a cartoon, a range of cartoons, or covers that they believe best reflect the right to free expression and publish at the same time globally. 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.”

“This unspeakable act of violence has challenged and assailed the entire press,” said Lucie Morillon, Programme Director, Reporters Without Borders. “Journalism as whole is in mourning. In the name of all those who have fallen in the defence of these fundamental values, we must continue Charlie Hebdo’s fight for the right to freedom of information,” Lucie Morillon, Head of Reporters Without Borders Advocacy Department, said.

“This is a time for all writers, publishers, editors, artists and free speech groups to stand in solidarity. In the face in one of the most devastating attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Europe’s recent history, we need to reaffirm our commitment to speaking out and standing up for free speech. This action today is the first step,” Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said.

For more information, please contact:
Index on Censorship
0207 260 2660

5 responses to “Stand up for free speech. Publish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons”

  1. christopher charles says:

    Freedom of free speech should not be synnomynous with bigotism and ignorance, it must feel great making loads of money whilst sitting in a well guarded room insulting everyone and everything and fueling the same fires of anger that these “artists” are themselves creating. I believe in a bit of censorship, I hate waking up in the morning, reading the news and hearing all the macabre bullshit that I never had an influence in creating. Half of these sick twisted idiots who encourage freedom of speech are the very same ones preaching the justification of hatred, ignorance and senseless chatter whether they perceive themselves to be actively involved in it or not. Freedom of speech? How about Freedom of silence? Mind your own business should be the order of the day. STFU.

  2. SNCFsucks says:

    There needs to be a more sophisticated and principled discussion of this issue. Only through principled discussion can it be shown that the MSM’s failure to publish the Mohammed cartoons is contrary to their journalistic duties. With press freedoms come the duty to exercise those freedoms.

    So, the 5 truths:

    * The main-stream media has a DUTY
    in western democracies to enforce its own free press and free speech rights.
    * The Charlie Hebdo cartoons ARE
    * Without the cartoons, there would
    be no news about Paris terror attacks today.
    * The cartoons themselves are
    newsworthy and must be published.
    * By self-censoring and
    deliberately abdicating the exercise of their own free speech rights, the
    main-stream media, collectively and individually, spits on the graves of all
    who have ever fought / died / sacrificed to achieve those freedoms.
    If MSM outlets wish to self-censor
    due to fear of reprisals etc (which is not necessarily unreasonable), then
    those MSM outlets have a DUTY to:
    * disclose their complete
    principled argument for holding that fear
    * explain the full extent of that fear
    * acknowledge that they have deliberately chosen to relinquish their free press
    rights in respect of publication of the cartoons.
    Unfortunately for the public, MSM
    outlets’ have failed to discuss this self-censorship issue with integrity,
    transparency and completeness – they have failed to uphold the duties that come
    with free press rights.

  3. frank_fisher says:

    Index_Magazine Finally getting the message? Shame you didn’t publish the MoToons.

  4. jmcos says:

    vickybaker gracias!

  5. vickybaker says:

    jmcos Avisame por DM si queres más info. Tenemos una lista de publicaciones internacionales con quienes estamos trabajando