What happened this morning at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo is a heinous attack on one of the pillars of our democracy, an act of extreme barbarism against those who, on a daily basis, keep the news alive and animate public debate.

My thoughts go out to the families and loved ones of the victims, to law enforcement, to all of Charlie Hebdo’s teams, to whom I wish to express my support and a heartfelt tribute.

I want to salute the courage of these freedom fighters, of all the women and men who carry the values of freedom of expression high in the daily exercise of their profession, one of the finest there is. I want to strongly commend their commitment to democracy.

The Republic is and will always be at the side of defenders of freedom of information and expression. We will defend these values with all the necessary firmness.