February 18, 2015

Publishers condemn Copenhagen attacks


ipa_newsletter_logotype.1After a gunman in Copenhagen attacked a free speech debate and Jewish synagogue, killing a film director and a security guard and leaving five police officers wounded, the international publishing community has condemned the shootings.

The International Publishers Association and the Danish Publishers Association strongly condemn Saturday’s shootings in Copenhagen, where film director Finn Norgaard was killed during a free speech debate.

Stig Andersen, president of the Danish Publishers Association said “the attack on the meeting in Copenhagen, where people had gathered to discuss art, blasphemy and freedom of speech is a cruel assault on democratic core values.”

IPA President Richard Charkin said “we must stand together in our support for freedom of expression. The horrors of Paris and now Copenhagen must not be allowed to silence opinion, creativity, and debate.”

Ola Wallin, Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish committee said that “freedom of expression is under increased threat around the world. This week it was Copenhagen, tomorrow it will be somewhere else. But publishers stand firm in their belief in openness, free debate, and respect for fellow human beings.”

Their words echo the condemnation that followed the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Lars Vilks’ Committee in Copenhagen is held every year on the anniversary of the fatwa of Salman Rushdie, and this year invited Agnieszka Kolek to present her “Passion for Freedom” festival.  In The Spectator, Kolek writes about continuing their discussion even after being attacked.

After the shooting subdued everyone started to come together. We decided to continue with the presentation. I presented Passion for Freedom’s work and we took a few questions from the audience. Everyone thanked us that we continued. We will not surrender; they cannot kill all of us.

Cartoonist Lars Vilks believes he was a target of the attack, and has gone into hiding. 


Julia Fleischaker is the director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.