"The horrific killing of ten journalists and two policemen in Paris on Wednesday has been widely described in the mainstream media as a ‘murderous attack on Western freedoms’, notably freedom of expression and the right to satirise. In response, some bloggers have insisted that the ‘attack had nothing to do with free speech’ but was simply part of the ongoing war between Western governments and jihadists.
The reality is that the killers did single out journalists and timed their attack to coincide with the weekly editorial meeting at Charlie Hebdo in order to secure maximum impact. The cartoonists now join the growing number of journalists killed ‘in the line of duty’. The Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that over 1100 journalists have been killed in the last twenty years (with 60 killed in 2014 alone). They include not simply the high-profile murders of reporters by Isil in Syria but also cases like the 16 Palestinian journalists killed by the Israeli army in Gaza together with the 16 reporters killed by US military fire in Iraq. Strangely enough, these latter killings do not seem to have generated the same claims from leading commentators that they constituted a ‘murderous attack on Western freedoms’. Yet the fact remains that it is an outrage – whatever the identity of the assailant or the victim – that a single journalist should have lost their life simply for covering or commenting on a conflict."
Sigh. Yes, the Charlie Hebdo killings were indeed a "murderous attack on Western freedoms", because that is how they were described, by their perpetrators and by those who laud them for it. Does Prof Freedman know better than the killers did what they had in mind? (He also forgets to mention the Jews killed in Paris the same week for being Jews, but hey, that's a whole other story, n'est-ce pas?) The killings of the Palestinian journalists and the reporters in Iraq have not been so described, because that is not what they were. How could the US military, or the Israeli army, have been setting out to "attack Western freedoms"? What nonsense. Intellectual dishonesty, or rank stupidity, I am not sure which. Both, probably. Journalists who are brave enough to go to war zones to report quite often do get killed, not usually (though sometimes) by people who want them dead for being journalists. But hey, let's not let the facts get in the way. Those who thought killing the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and their colleagues was just fine think this. The message is fairly clear. Or are these just brown-skin people who need to be told what to think by London "academics"? (Picture nocompulsion.com)