Bernie Corbett, General Secretary of WGGB, said: “We deplore the shocking murders of 10 journalists and two police officers in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.
“While journalism is not the prime concern of the WGGB, nevertheless all writers, whether dramatists, novelists, poets or whatever, need the oxygen of free speech to deliver meaningful and significant work.
“It is not free speech to say that we can publish only material that will not offend or upset anyone. The whole point about free speech is that anyone can say anything they like, whether it is unkind, offensive, satirical, obscene, defamatory or even plain untrue.
“In our society, we have those rights and we must protect them. Of course we have to accept the consequences of exercising those rights. If what we write is against the law of the land we can be prosecuted. If it is defamatory we can be sued. If it offends a particular group, then we must be prepared for them to exercise their own right of free speech and argue against us and perhaps even demonstrate against us in the streets. But murder is simply a crime, and the ultimate denial of free speech.
“The guiding principle is that there must be no prior restraint, no censorship, no arbitrary limits. If we can’t uphold that principle, free speech will be extinct.”
The Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, which WGGB is affiliated to, has issued the following statement:
“European screenwriters, represented by the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, are horrified by the cowardly, murderous attack on the creators and editors of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7th. As screenwriters we are shocked by this assault on our freedom to speak our minds, our freedom to create. Freedom of Expression is the essential prerequisite of creativity. The slaughter in Paris is an attack on our right to speak, to voice our opinions, to tell our stories. In solidarity with those who lost their lives, we reject terror, silence and submission.”