The attack this week on a French satirical magazine that killed 12 people was launched against a guiding principle of liberty.
The target was freedom of expression.
There cannot be any buckling to the forces of terror, according to Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson.
He is so very correct. Here is Robinson’s column in full:
Charlie Hebdo is known for its biting — and sometimes crude — satire. It published some cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed in a less-than-flattering light. Some French Muslims took exception and opened fire at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office. The bloodshed ended Friday with the deaths of three assassins; four hostages also died in a French commando assault outside of Paris, but other hostages were freed.
Publications around the world are going to look at how they should react to this horrifying act of revenge. Free expression is a cherished right of those who enjoy liberty. Let it stand forever.
Robinson notes in his column: “Right now, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the tendency must be to err on the side of defiance. News organizations have an obligation to demonstrate that they will not be cowed — and indeed, many are doing just that. But what happens a month from now, or a year from now?”
And then he adds: “If freedom of speech is to mean anything, we must avoid self-censorship. And if we are to avoid self-censorship, we must be able to protect and defend the right to make editorial decisions on their merits — which means being prepared to protect the journalists who make those decisions. This means that media organizations and governments must provide adequate security measures so that journalists can do their work.”
I’m with him.