INM newsrooms fall silent to show solidarity with murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists

Members of the NUJ and Staff from all the Titles at Independent News and Media pictured in the Irish Independent Newsroom during the minute silence for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris

Daniel McConnell Group Political Correspondent

Phones taken off the hook, radios were turned off, the tapping of keyboards ceased.

Independent News and Media journalists held a minute's silence this morning to mark the tragic events at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Journalists, editors, senior managers and NUJ officials gathered this morning to pause.

Colleagues from the Irish Independent, the Herald, the Sunday Independent, and stopped what they were doing and joined together to show our solidarity in opposition to what happened in France yesterday.

Twelve people were killed when the masked gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs burst into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper yesterday morning and opened fire indiscriminately.

French president Francois Hollande declared a national day of mourning and ‘Sixty Seconds of Silent Solidarity’ was organised for 12pm in France (11am Irish time).

Before the minute's silence began, INM's Group Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rae spoke to the crowd of fellow journalists who had come together to mark the tragedy.

"I’m glad to see so many our journalism teams here today. I think it reflects the horror that we all feel at the massacre in Paris," he said.

"As journalists I think we can count on one hand those moments that leave us genuinely shocked.

"At INM we are an organisation that has seen two of our journalists, Veronica Guerin and Marty O’Hagan assassinated because of the campaigning work they carried out. Many of us in this room remember those convulsing events like they were only yesterday.

"At that time many international media organisations stood in solidarity with us.

"That’s why it’s important that we today hold this 60 seconds of Silent Solidarity in memory of the journalists who were cruelly and cold bloodedly cut down in Paris yesterday.

"The idea of today’s Silent Solidarity came from our journalists and is fully supported by all our senior editors in Talbot Street, Belfast and our regional colleagues."

Journalists from across all titles - The Irish Independent, The Sunday Independent, The Herald, The Belfast Telegraph and The Sunday World –  and regional titles The Argus, The Bray people, The Carlow People, The Corkman, The Drogheda Independent, The Enniscorthy Guardian, The Fingal Independent, The Gorey Guardian, The Kerryman, The New Ross Standard, The Sligo Champion, The Wexford People and The Wicklow People as well as the online operations held the minute's silence as a show of solidarity for our French colleagues at Charlie Hebdo.

But the attack yesterday, which left 10 journalists and two police officers dead, was an attack on democracy, on freedom of expression and liberty.

Such freedoms many of us take for granted on daily basis.

It was a stark reminder of how fragile an ideal democracy is.

That  is why we stood together, in support of our colleagues who lost their lives, but also in support of that ideal.