WGAW: We Won't Be Silenced By Fear

Writers Guild of America, West president Chris Keyser says free expression won't be silenced by terrorists and The Media Institute called on journalists to stay strong.

That came in response to the terrorist attack on a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, that left at least 12 dead, the majority of them journalists.

“Today, as a Guild, we reaffirm our belief in the free and open expression of ideas and in the pact all of us must make with each other, not to agree, but to be tolerant of that with which we disagree," Keyser said.

“We are shocked and outraged by this mass murder, and we join with media organizations around the world in condemning this politically motivated attack," said Patrick Maines, president of the Media Institute, the free speech think tank backed by major media companies. "Once again journalists have given their lives for the cause of free speech and free press. Our sympathy goes out to the families of these victims."

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State John Kerry said that such attacks only strengthens the commitment to freedom of speech, a freedom that "will never be eradicated by any act of terror."

Keyser and Maines echoed that sentiment. "We stand with those, wherever they are, who write and speak their minds, which is a brave and necessary thing to do," Keyser said. "And we hope for ourselves and wish for others the resolve never to be silenced by fear.”

"As threats, acts of intimidation, and outright violence against the press continue to increase," said Maines, "we trust that journalists, backed by their news organizations, will stand strong as the torchbearers of freedom around the globe.” 

That resolve notwithstanding, CNN analyst Fareed Zakaria suggested that there would be an inevitable chilling effect as journalists weighed the costs to themselves and others of what they publish.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.