SDLP: Durkan backs parliamentary motion in defence of freedom of expression

Foyle MP Mark Durkan holding the 'JE SUIS CHARLIE' placard in defence of journalists and freedom of expression.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan holding the 'JE SUIS CHARLIE' placard in defence of journalists and freedom of expression.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has supported a parliamentary motion at Westminster in defence of journalists and freedom of expression – which also expresses heartfelt sympathy to the families of those journalists, police and others who were assassinated or injured at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015.

Mr Durkan said: “We join in solidarity around the world with millions of people standing together in defence of civil liberties. It is not only the fundamental right to life that we are asserting but the importance of freedom of expression.

“This savage tragedy reminds us that there is bravery in journalism. Those professionals and artists were murdered for carrying out their jobs which uphold the invaluable and historical right to free speech and freedom of expression. Both are integral elements of democracy. In their work they were not just practicing these freedoms for themselves – journalism and a free press profess and protect them for all in society.

“I offer my full support to the NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists for their work in defending the rights of all journalists to do their job without fear of threats, intimidation and brutal murder.

“We also acknowledge the sacrifice of the police victims who died as guardians for press freedom. In a different professional way, the policing vocation also has as its essence the protection of people’s rights so they can enjoy civil liberties in peace and safety.”