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

Index on Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, PEN America, FreeWord, Reporters Without Borders, English PEN and Conway Hall Ethical Society 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. 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.” Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship.

“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.” Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of 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. CBLDF stands with Charlie Hebdo and their dedication to free expression.” Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

“This unspeakable act of violence has challenged and assailed the entire press,” said Lucie Morillon. “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

“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

“The tragedy and outrage that has befallen Charlie Hebdo’s office and the friends and families of those killed is a marker in time for freedom of expression. The necessity of speaking and publishing freely is of vital importance for us as a common humanity to live ethically side by side. Consequently, somehow and in someway we must all act in solidarity to ensure that those who oppose freedom of expression will not grind us down and make us cower.” Dr Jim Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of Conway Hall Ethical Society

“The history of the Ethical Society is entwined with the fight for freedom of expression in the UK – we will do our utmost to continue that effort today.” Liz Lutgendorff, Chair of Conway Hall Ethical Society

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

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