The horrific and barbaric massacre of journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Jan. 7 underlines the fact that press freedom can never be taken for granted. It needs to be protected and cherished by all freedom-loving people.

In the centuries leading up to the French revolution of 1789, France suffered, as did so much of Europe, from religious wars and persecution. The revolution with its slogan calling for “liberty, equality and fraternity” was firmly secular and anti-clerical. Theocracy based on religion is inherently intolerant and anti-democratic. Only in a state governed on secular principles upholding the principle of religious tolerance can there be real freedom to choose your religion or to have no religion.

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