Freedom of expression is everyone’s right and it is up to all citizens to defend it against threats and attacks from those who want to silence the voices of those who have a different opinion. In full process in Paris for the most extreme manifestation of this intolerance, the deadly attack against the satirical publication Charlie hebdo and against a Jewish hypermarket in January 2015, and after the satirical magazine has denounced new Islamist threats, a hundred French media published this Wednesday an “open letter to our fellow citizens” in which they ask for solidarity with the publication and the ” joint defense of freedom ”.
“Today, in 2020, some of you are threatened with death on social media when you express unique opinions. The media are openly targeted by international terrorist organizations. The states exert pressure on French journalists ‘guilty’ of having published critical articles, “explains the platform entitled” Together, let’s defend freedom. “
“Let us remember, in solidarity with Charlie hebdo, who has paid for his freedom with the blood of his collaborators, that in France the crime of blasphemy does not exist. Some of us are believers and can naturally be shocked by blasphemy. However, they unreservedly join our initiative. Because when defending freedom from blasphemy, it is not blasphemy that we defend, but freedom, “adds the rostrum, published on the front page this Wednesday in the latest edition of Charlie hebdo and on the pages and webs of a hundred media of diverse orientation, from progressives Le Monde or Liberation to the most conservative Le Figaro Y Le Point or even the sports car L’Équipe, as well as various public and private television and radio networks.
The rostrum was the brainchild of the director of Charlie hebdo, Laurent Sourisseau, known as Riss, which finally decided to join around a hundred French media – not all of them – after discussing “the threats that weigh on freedom of expression,” he says. Le Monde. During the trial, the members of the satirical magazine lamented the lack of support from both political sectors – “the shocking thing is that a part of the left not only did not defend ‘Charlie Hebdo’, but found a political excuse for this type of performances, “he declared Riss– as from the French press itself. “Where are the soldiers of freedom?” Fabrice Nicolino, another survivor of the attack, asked himself before the judges. “There are great spirits defending it in Belarus, but journalists don’t give a damn if a newspaper lives under siege in Paris.”
Coinciding with the start of the process, on September 2, the satirical magazine republished the cartoons of Muhammad that it initially published in 2006 – in solidarity with the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, threatened by being the first to print the drawings of the prophet of Islam – and which are the motive alleged by the terrorists who perpetrated the attack on January 7, 2015 that killed eight of the members and collaborators of Charlie, including its director, Charb, as well as four other people. Once again, the magazine, whose members are still under escort, has again received terrorist threats, especially from Al Qaeda, in addition to the condemnation of some Muslim countries.
This same week, the magazine’s human resources manager, Marika Bret, revealed that she had to leave her home – “they told me I had ten minutes to prepare a bag and leave my home,” she said – due to new threats. A sample of “in what environment of hatred we find ourselves and what are the consequences of that environment,” he warned. Days before, when they had to testify, several survivors of the magazine, including Riss, explained the consequences that living under the constant threat of jihadists has had throughout his life and those close to him. On the one hand, there is living under constant police protection and with extraordinary security measures. To get into the newsroom, Nicolino explained, “there is a first metal door, a first lock; then a second metal door, then a patio with an X-ray system like in the airport, to ensure that the packages are not a trap. Then there is a third door, another lock, a fourth door. It is full of police officers armed to the ears. Then there is an elevator, a thick fifth door that is difficult to open, a similar sixth door. We came in Charlie, we passed a security agent and, there, we sat at a table and laughed, because Charlie It is a fun newspaper, ”he ironized. But there are also the personal consequences, beyond the injuries that many of the journalists drag until today. RissShe explained that she was planning to adopt a baby with her partner. Until “they kindly made us understand that they will never entrust a child to people under protection.”
As the lawyers of the Hyper Cacher victims have also denounced – some of whom testify this week in the process – many of their defendants have not been able to resume their lives and have even left France, scared by an antisemitism that does not remit either.
“The threats have worsened after the re-publication of the Muhammad cartoons during the trial for the attacks. What seizes us is a feeling not of fear, but of rebellion, because the multiplication of death threats from the moment we express our opinion is something absolutely intolerable, “he writes Riss in the editorial of the new issue of Charlie hebdo. “Freedom is always the fruit of a struggle, never a gift that is given to us. The law that frames freedom of expression should not be perceived as a corset but, on the contrary, as an ally that allows us a range of opinions too often ignored by citizens (…) The time to doubt must disappear: despite the penalties, suffering and violence, it is freedom, once again, who will have the last word ”, he maintains.