EU culture ministers vow to guard free speech

Culture ministers from all 28 European Union nations vowed Sunday to defend freedom of expression from “terrorists” in the wake of the Islamist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In a statement as a huge unity rally took place in Paris, the ministers said the “senseless barbarity” of the attack aimed to undermine European values “in the most violent way.”

“We, the ministers of culture of the European Union, stand in solidarity to defend the freedom of expression and vow to protect the rights of artists to create freely,” said the statement, issued by the current Latvian presidency of the EU.

The ministers said they “do not accept terrorists’ attempts to impose their own standards. Since time immemorial, the arts have been an inspiration for reflection giving rise to new ideas and fighting against intolerance and ignorance.”

The EU’s top officials and a host of leaders from European nations are attending the rally in Paris to show solidarity after three days of violence in Paris in which 17 people died, including the Charlie Hebdo attack and a siege at a kosher supermarket.


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