Book Industry, Free Speech Groups Condemn Charlie Hebdo Attack

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The American Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers for Free Expression have joined the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) in condemning this week’s terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. A number of other book industry organizations and free speech groups have also signed NCAC’s statement.

Ten staffers at the magazine were killed and many others injured by gunmen who stormed the publication’s Parisian headquarters on January 7. Two police officers on the scene were also killed.

The New York Times and other media outlets have reported that a propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had named Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, on a suggested hit list of Westerners who it said had insulted the Muslim faith.

In 2011, the magazine’s website was hacked and the offices were firebombed following the publication of an issue “guest edited” by Muhammad.

“The magazine has a long history of publishing sharp satirical work that no doubt shocks and offends many readers,” the NCAC statement said. “Charlie Hebdo has published material mocking the Pope, Jesus Christ, and French political figures, among others.”

Calling Wednesday’s attack “hideous and barbaric,” NCAC said that it was “a chilling and extreme assault on freedom of speech” and that “failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who seek to attack and undermine it.”

As of January 7, the following organizations have joined NCAC in its condemnation of the attack:

  • American Booksellers Association
  • American Booksellers for Free Expression
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Library Association
  • American Society of News Editors
  • Americans United for Separation of Church & State
  • Association of American Publishers
  • Association of American University Presses
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • DKT Liberty Project
  • FirstAmendment[dot]com/Walters Law Group
  • Freedom to Read Foundation
  • Free Expression Policy Project
  • Liberty Coalition
  • Media Law Resource Center
  • National Coalition Against Censorship
  • People For the American Way
  • Project Censored/Media Freedom Foundation
  • Student Press Law Center
  • Tully Center for Free Expression
  • Woodhull Sexual Freedom Foundation