OPINION

SANEF condemns Charlie Hebdo massacre

Organisation says criminal act creates an unnecessary and false tension between religious freedom and freedom of speech

Sanef statement on Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, France

The South African National Editors' Forum condemns in the strongest terms the murder of staff members of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. We send our condolences to the families of the victims and we hope they will find comfort not only in our condemnation of the criminal act but also in the spirited defence of media freedom that the massacre has sparked.

This criminal act creates an unnecessary and false tension between religious freedom and freedom of speech. The two are not mutually exclusive. They should co-exist all over the world. They should be mutually reinforcing.

We believe in the use of legitimate platforms and channels to seek redress regarding concerns about media content deemed offensive by sections of society anywhere in the world.

We urge religious leaders from all walks of life to condemn the dastardly act and to distance their religion - or sections of their religion - from such criminal act. No amount of disagreement with media content should justify the annihilation of life itself.

Statement issued by Mpumelelo Mkhabela, Chairperson Sanef, January 8 2014

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