National conference on information in France is good news for independent, trustworthy journalism
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the upcoming launch of a national conference on information in France, announced in a press release from the president’s office on 13 July. This is good news at a time when technological, economic and political factors are undermining reliable and independent news and information. As conference “delegate general,” RSF’s secretary-general will help to steer this process, which extends initiatives launched by RSF.
The launch of the national conference on information has been eagerly awaited in journalistic circles and among those who fight for democratic safeguards in the digital domain. Promised by President Emmanuel Macron during his reelection campaign in 2022, it aims to involve both media professionals and general public in adapting public policies and legislation to the digital age.
RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire will serve in a personal capacity as “delegate general” of the conference. This is a voluntary role that is not binding on RSF or vice versa. He will work collectively within a steering committee consisting of its chair, former Council of State vice-president Bruno Lasserre, Nathalie Collin, Camille François and Anne Perrot. President Macron has promised that the committee will be completely independent – a requirement for the conference’s success and for Deloire’s participation.
“The president has set an ambitious objective, that of proposing a French and European model for the media and communication technologies in order to safeguard the right to information. Journalism faces multiple crises of a technological, economic and even geopolitical nature. The challenge is to come up with a vision and action plan for France while avoiding all partisan considerations, to protect our quality of life and our rights while making the best use of our technological potential, and finally to support the producers of reliable news and information in the face of disinformation and rumours. This appointment in a personal capacity extends a commitment that has been mine throughout my professional life, especially now at Reporters Without Borders.
Support for RSF initiatives
At a conference of ambassadors in September 2022, President Macron said this national conference would serve to “endorse several initiatives,” including such RSF initiatives as the Partnership for Information and Democracy. During a joint press conference with Slovakia’s president in Bratislava in May 2023, Macron said he wanted to “strengthen the action carried out within the framework of the Partnership for Information and Democracy.”
Initiated by RSF in 2018 and now backed by 50 countries (including 25 European Union members), the Partnership for Information and Democracy aims to bring civil society and governments together to build a democratic digital space. Its implementing body, the Forum on Information and Democracy, has made hundreds of concrete recommendations for the regulation and self-regulation of the global communication and information space.
In April 2022, RSF organised a Right to Information Bus Tour, in which an RSF team visited 20 towns and villages in France in a bus, organising gatherings in order to canvas the French public’s concerns and proposals on this issue. Based on this exercise, a White Paper for the Right to Information with 30 recommendations was then published with a view to being submitted to the future national conference.
After a profound transformation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is pursuing an all-points strategy to promote the right to news and information. With 14 bureaux around the world and a network of representatives or correspondents in 144 countries, RSF works with renewed means of action in four areas – press freedom, relations between journalists and public, media ownership, and digital domain structure and innovations. RSF works in the field and makes proposals to political, economic and media decision-makers.
About the Partnership for Information and Democracy
Initiated by RSF in 2018 and now backed by 50 countries (including 25 EU members), the Partnership for Information and Democracy aims to bring civil society and governments together to build a democratic digital space. Its implementing body, the Forum on Information and Democracy, has made hundreds of proposals. Two information and democracy summits have been held on the margins of UN general assemblies, bringing together more than 20 foreign ministers.
About Christophe Deloire
A former TV and then print journalist, documentary filmmaker, author and book publisher, and former director of the Journalists Training Centre (CFJ), Christophe Deloire has been RSF director-general and RSF International secretary-general since 2011, and has chaired the Forum on Information and Democracy since 2019. In his book La Matrice, published by Editions Calmann-Levy in March 2022, he describes the behind-the-scenes fight for the right to information against threats from both authoritarian regimes and private sector corporations.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF):
Pauline Adès-Mével: [email protected] +33 7 8237 2312
Marie-René de la Guillonnière: [email protected] +33 1 4233 9318