According to Gawker, its offices along with at least two other New York media companies are under special protection of the New York Police Department, after all three outlets republished Charlie Hebdo covers depicting Muhammed.
On January 7, the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo came under attack by gunmen who killed 12 people, presumably in response to controversial cartoons it published depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammed. Some Islamic teachings explicitly forbid pictorial representations of Muhammed. Furthermore, Charlie Hebdo’s illustrations often mocked Islam — along with every other religion on the planet.
An officer stationed outside Gawker told the outlet that the department was not acting on any specific threats made against media companies. Nor did the officer state whether the department had only offered protection to outlets that republished the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
While the presence of New York cops isn’t always a friendly sight for all residents, it’s heartening to see the department devote resources to protecting a news outlet’s right to free speech. And nobody wants to see an organization of any kind fall victim to kind of horrific attack that befell Charlie Hebdo earlier this month.
This isn’t the first time the NYPD ramped up security outside Gawker’s offices. In 2012, increased police protection was provided after then-staffer John Cook published a public document revealing the names of New Yorkers licensed to own a handgun. Nor was that the only time a connection was drawn between American gun enthusiasts and Islamic terrorists.