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World Press Freedom Day

Published on May 3, 2012
Statement by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, May 3, 2012

On this World Press Freedom Day, my thoughts go first and foremost to Lucas Deloga, Gilles Jacquier and Rémi Ochlik, French journalists and photographers killed in recent months while reporting in Tunisia and Syria, as well as to their family and close friends. I wanted the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to pay tribute to them by presenting their most iconic photos of the Arab Spring and its democratic aspirations on the France diplomatie website.

Today also gives me an opportunity to recall France’s active involvement, in Paris and in Bogotá, to secure the release of France 24’s Roméo Langlois, who has been held in Colombia since Saturday.

Last year, according to figures provided by Reporters Without Borders, around 66 journalists were killed, while about 1,000 were arrested and imprisoned.

I want to pay tribute to all those journalists who give their lives or their freedom to carry out an often dangerous job, in order to seek the truth in countries torn apart by violent conflict or under the grip of dictators.

We must commend the courage of all those throughout the world who risk their lives to defend the basic human right of press freedom and freedom of expression, while violations of this universal, essential right persist in many countries.

The freedom to work as a journalist is a priority of our human rights policy. Indeed, everyone knows that the first instinct of the enemies of freedom is to silence the press, and that the freedom fighters’ greatest ally is the free media. In this respect, France is especially vigilant about the freedom of cyberspace./.

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