WAN-IFRA Condemns Copenhagen Attacks as ‘Latest Attack on Free Speech’

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers has condemned the attacks at a free speech event in Copenhagen that left two people dead and several others injured as the “latest attempt at silencing free speech.”

“We denounce in the strongest possible terms this latest attempt at silencing free speech and stand in solidarity with the Danish people during this tragic moment,” said WAN-IFRA chief executive Vincent Peyrègne. “The year began in such appalling circumstances with the attacks in Paris, and yet it is devastating to find our universal values and common belief in freedom once more under attack.”

“The very nature of this attack is appalling – that there are those out there who would look to violently curtail debate on the nature of free speech shows just what level of intolerance we are up against.

“It is clear that we must remain vigilant and resist all attempts to undermine our freedom, but equally, the divisiveness and hate that such an assault seeks to spread cannot be allowed to gain force. The media has an important role in rejecting a fundamentalist worldview that seeks to destroy our belief in universal freedom, as well as in helping to promote the shared values that will allow us to overcome fear.”

On Saturday, a film director was shot dead and three police officers were injured after a gunman opened fire on a café where a free speech debate set to feature the Swedish artist who portrayed Muhammad in 2007. The gunman later killed a Jewish man outside of Copenhagen’s central synagogue before being shot dead by police.