Newspaper kiosk in Montmartre, Paris. Photo: Pond.
WACC’s European Regional Association issued a brief statement unequivocally condemning the attack and reiterating its support for press and media freedom. “We extend our sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims. We join with the representatives of all religions who have condemned this attack and reaffirm our belief in a Europe where those of all faiths may live and work together in peace.”
WACC’s General Secretary, Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter condemned the attack, noting that journalists all over the world are increasingly facing attacks. “Over the past ten years, more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed – with 61 deaths in 2014 alone. It is urgent that more be done to protect journalists and to prevent a further escalation of violence,” she said.
Article 19 also strongly condemned the act of violence. “The attack on Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris is a deplorable and malicious act of cowardice that must be universally condemned,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of Article 19.
“It is an attempt to silence journalists and media workers who have devoted themselves to protecting freedom of expression, defending the principle that the freedom to satirise and offend is essential in any society. This is not only a crime against these brave individuals, but against freedom of expression itself. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the victims and their families.”
In a statement posted on its web site (7 January 2014), the World Council of Churches (WCC) said, “The fatal attack that has taken place today in Paris against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is an attack on human life, human dignity and the human rights of all. The World Council of Churches utterly rejects and condemns any religious justification advanced for it. Together with all people of true faith and good will, we pray for the victims and their families, for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, for the extremist ideology that inspired this attack to be extinguished, and that justified outrage may not lead to reprisals against Muslims or fuel anti-Islamic sentiment.”
Guy Liagre, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), expressed his sorrow and hopes for peace in the aftermath. “We grieve for the victims and their families in the wake of irreparable loss,” he said, “The churches of Europe join with all people of good will in a profound hope for justice and peace in the coming days.”