Those of us who work at newspapers in the United States, like many who are not in this profession, sometimes take for granted the protections of Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Expression guaranteed in the First Amendment. These rights are the most important tool in any journalist’s repertoire. It is a promise to readers that all views can and should be expressed without fear of reprisal, no matter if we agree with the sentiment.
We are saddened to hear reports of Wednesday’s deadly attack on a French satirical publication called Charlie Hebdo. This is not the first time the magazine has been attacked by those who have taken offense after the staff has poked fun at the Prophet Mohammad, as the Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed in 2011 after a similar issue.
Despite these frequent attacks, the staff of Charlie Hebdo never backed down to appease those who opposed its right to expression. We hope that even in light of the vicious murder of 12 people – including editors, cartoonists and even police officers – that the magazine does not change its ways, does not lose its voice and continues to express views that some would find unpopular.
Wednesday’s attack was one orchestrated by extremists, terrorists who would deny people the right to express themselves unless it agrees with their own views.
We stand by our brothers and sisters who we lost this week in France, as we celebrate their determination to defy those who would try to subdue the freedom of expression in all its forms. We will honor the memory of those killed in the attack by continuing to pursue the truth and by living up to the freedoms guaranteed to us by the First Amendment.
Just like the staff of Charlie Hebdo, we will not back down.
We Are Charlie Hebdo.