07 January 2015

IAPA expresses solidarity with French magazine after deadly attack

MIAMI, Florida (January 7, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed its deep concern at an attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, calling the event “an act of barbarity against a democratic society that has always embraced with respect and tolerance the most diverse and pluralistic reports and criticisms.” Gustavo Mohme, IAPA president and editor of La República newspaper Lima, Peru, in addition to expressing in the name of the organization his “solidarity with and condolences to the colleagues and families of the victims” declared that “attacks of this nature distort the democratic sense, whose primordial value is based on respect for each citizen to express his or her views without any kind of reprisal and that conflicts should never be resolved through violence but rather through the courts.” “Today this attack reminds us how fragile can be freedom of expression and of the press and, in turn, that we must not take it for granted, but defend it, take care of it and promote on a daily basis,” Mohme added. Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, added, “Satire and humor are genres that can be more biting than others in journalism, but in no way can they serve to justify violent and detestable actions such as those of today, nor can they justify the most subtle censorship that is imposed by laws or financial sanctions on the media, cartoonists and reporters.” “Cartoons, satire, humor, and any other aspect of artistic expression,” Paolillo added, “are human expression and rights that should be protected by law and by the courts that should be unrelenting in their defense against those intolerant people of any nature.” The IAPA officers regarded the attack in France as “an act of barbarity against a democratic society that has always embraced with respect and tolerance opinions, reports and the most diverse and pluralistic criticisms.” In today’s attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in which several hooded men dressed in black and bearing automatic rifles took part, 12 people were killed and four seriously wounded. Since 2006, following the publication of an issue with cartoons of Mohammed, Charlie Hebdo has been receiving threats and in 2011 its offices were attacked with Molotov cocktails, causing serious damage. Since then, its editor was living under police guard. The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.