Philippine journalists: ‘No mode of expression deserves death’
Joining the whole world in condemning the gruesome massacre of French journalists and cartoonists yesterday in Paris, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Thursday denounced the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which killed 12 people, including 10 journalists, and wounded 11 others.
The attack underscored intolerance as “a bane to freedom of expression and of the press,” NUJP chairperson Rowena Paraan said.
Paraan likened the attack on the French weekly to assaults directed to Filipino journalists.
“The attack on Charlie Hebdo, the targeted killings of journalists, which have claimed more than 170 lives in the Philippines since 1986, the worsening attempts to muzzle whistleblowers and reporters who bring to light corruption and the dark workings of state security, are all cut from the same mold,” Paraan said in a statement.
The magazine, known for its controversial content, earned the ire of Muslim extremists for publishing satire cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Islamic Studies experts point out that, Muslims are prohibited from depicting any likeness of the prophet to avoid idol worship.
While the attack at Charlie Hebdo sparked debates on ethics, NUJP said that no mode of expression should warrant a death sentence.
“We acknowledge that there have been and will continue to be debates about the role journalistic responsibility–or lack of it–factors into such attacks on the freedom of the press. But while we acknowledge the indispensability of ethics in the profession, we also maintain that no mode of expression, however offensive or unethical it may be, deserves a death sentence,” Paraan said.
Three gunmen opened fire in the newspaper’s headquarters in Paris Wednesday noon, killing its editor and two cartoonists.
An 18-year-old suspect in the Charlie Hebdo attack has since surrendered to the French police.
Ironically one of the French police officers, Ahmed Merabet, killed in the shooting was a Muslim.
The 42-year-old Ahmed Merabet was shot at point-blank range despite apparently pleading for mercy, and his death was tragically caught on camera.
Merabet, a Muslim by faith, was serving as a patrolman in the 11th arrondissement, which is the district where Charlie Hebdo’s office is located in Paris, the Daily Caller reported.
The Daily Caller explained that Islam explicitly condemns killing other Muslims. Many Islamist groups justify their indiscriminate attacks on fellow believers by claiming that those living in the West, or otherwise not advancing their group’s radical cause, have betrayed “true Islam” and are therefore apostates.