World Press Freedom Day (May 3) – Statement by Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
On this World Press Freedom Day, my thoughts go first and foremost to Lucas Deloga, Gilles Jacquier and Rémi Ochlik, the French journalists and photographers killed in recent months while reporting in Tunisia and Syria, as well as to their family and friends. I wanted the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to pay tribute to them by presenting their most symbolic photos of the Arab Spring and their democratic aspirations on the France diplomatie website.
This day also gives me an opportunity to reaffirm that France is strongly mobilized, in Paris and in Bogota, to secure the release of France 24’s Roméo Langlois, who has been held hostage since Saturday.
Last year, according to figures provided by Reporters Without Borders, around 66 journalists were killed, while about a thousand were arrested and imprisoned.
I want to pay tribute to all those journalists who give their lives or their freedom to carry out a profession that is often dangerous, in order to uncover the truth in countries that have been torn apart by violent conflict or are under the grip of dictators.
We must also 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 exercise the profession of journalism 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. France is in this respect especially vigilant with respect to the freedom of cyberspace.