Sunday, January 11, 2015

The World Reacts to the Attacks on Charlie Hebdo

Paris protesters hold up pens in solidarity with slain cartoonists and journalists

The world was shocked this past week as the offices of Paris-based satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were attacked. The paper had a history of publishing controversial images of religious figures. Although the newspaper had endured many threats in years past, as well as a previous terrorist attack in 2011, this week's violence claimed the lives of 12 people, including the paper's editor-in-chief. 

Journalism remains a dangerous occupation in many parts of the world. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 91 journalists and media workers lost their lives in 2014. The group also counts over 220 journalists detained worldwide last year. While war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq have been the deadliest for journalists in recent years, China and Iran lead the world in jailing news workers.

Librarians stand with journalists and other information professionals who work every day to keep information free and open to the public. The American Library Association condemned the recent attacks in a press release stating: "Libraries and the press are the bedrock of democratic societies.  Free expression is essential for librarians and journalists to do their jobs.  Free speech is integral to the ethical values and best practices for both professions.  Such attacks are counter to the values of access to information with diversity of views—and to the values of civic engagement, which encourages people to read and discuss these views without fear."

Photo by Gwenael Piaser. Creative Commons license.

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