The International Federation of Journalists and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists, today joined the million-strong march in Paris protesting against the terrorist attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – the worst outrage ever committed against any media in France, which cost the lives of 12 people including six journalists.
The IFJ and EFJ marched with their three member unions in France -- Syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ), Syndicat national des journalistes-confédération générale du travail (SNJ-CGT) and CFDT -- at the head of the demontration, behind the families of the killed journalists.
Leaders and delegations from journalists’ unions in Britain and Ireland (NUJ), Italy (FNSI), Spain (FAPE and Fesp), Romania (MediaSind) and Belgium (AJP) joined the march to express their solidarity, an act greatly appreciated by their French colleagues.
“The attack against Charlie Hebdo was not just an assault on the journalists killed,” said the IFJ president, Jim Boumelha. “The assassins’ bullets were aimed squarely at free speech, one of the pillars of democracy. It was therefore an attack against democracy itself. And it is not just a problem for France alone, it is an issue for journalists all over the world.
“This outrage has highlighted once again our concerns over the safety of journalists, and I reiterate my call to all heads of states and governments who were present today in Paris to take up more vigorously the fight against impunity and bring the killers of journalists to justice.The IFJ will step up its campaign to bring impunity to an end and ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes are punished,” he added.
The IFJ has documented the killing of 118 journalists across the world in 2014.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ Deputy General Secretary, said, “The loss of so many colleagues, some of whom I knew, on such a scale is hard to bear. But our unions’ delegates, marching in solidarity with their French colleagues, was a tremendous experience. This united action can only bring us closer together in defence of press freedom and the rights of journalists, whatever the media we work for. Once the emotions soften, we will get on with the hard task to advance the freedom of the press and media, and we call on all the citizens of the world to join us in this battle.”
Images from the different demonstrations this week here.