Gunmen will never be able to stop freedom of speech

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

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Apparently the media peddles lies, misdirections and bile, guaranteed to keep the general population of the globe subservient and pliant.

Apparently, when I was a news reporter, I was part of this conspiracy and would be in on the grand plan to fabricate global events, tragedies and triumphs.

Well that, if you’ll pardon the pun, is news to me.

I didn’t realise when I spoke to a crying relative of someone who was killed in the Twin Towers terrorist attack that I was perpetuating a lie.

I didn’t realise when I interviewed someone who had to run for her life away from the Asian tsunami that I was pulling the wool over readers’ eyes.

So it has come as a bit of a surprise to hear claims that the media covering the terrible tragedy in Paris, where 12 people died in the Charlie Hebdo shooting, is actually making it up.

That’s what some of the more moronic people commenting on social media have been saying, anyway.

And what these people fail to realise is that their own freedom to express these opinions comes precisely because our nation, and the western world, has a free press.

That notion underpins everything we are able to say, whether via a journalist’s words or through our keyboards on social media.

The Paris gunmen and others can never stop that freedom of expression, no matter how hard they try.

If I want to have my say about any political figure, I will (and I have). The same goes for religion.

In Portsmouth we have a brilliant aptitude for mockery, which begins with assigning nicknames to absolutely everybody and ends, in Inbetweeners style, with epic bants.

Charlie Hebdo and our own Private Eye are the naughty kids at the back, the court jesters of yore who would take the mickey out of the king to ensure he didn’t get too big for his boots.

It’s always been a dangerous position to be in, but it will always endure through the ages.

It’s important, even so that the morons can have their say.

Je suis Charlie.