People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan issued the following statement in response to today’s attack on staff members of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris:
“Today’s vicious attack on the staff of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has left all of us heartbroken. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and to all the people of France.
“I hope that defenders of liberty throughout the world will respond not with nervous self-censorship but with a renewed commitment to vibrant, messy, democratic debate.
“There can be no democracy and no liberty without a fiercely defended freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The threats to speech come not just from governments but from those who would use violence and fear to shut down speech that they dislike. Democratic governments and their people must stand up to these violent bullies and refuse to be intimidated.
“As with the threats against Sony last month, the speech we defend isn’t always high art or civil debate. But it still needs its chance to be heard. We commend those of all religions who are risking their lives fighting around the world for the right not just to speak, but to argue, joke, insult and offend. It’s impossible to be free without it.”