It was President Macron who, in a show of interest in the initiative, proposed receiving this independent international commission at the Elysée for an informal meeting. The commission is co-chaired by RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.
After the commission’s co-chairs described the initiative’s goals to President Macron, he conversed freely with its members about the present-day challenges for information and democracy, including relations between democratic countries and despotic regimes, regulation of news and information providers, new technology and the future of journalism. Some of the Commission’s members raised the situation of their respective countries directly with Macron.
This initiative’s ultimate goal is an international commitment by governments, private-sector companies and civil society representatives based on the International Declaration on Information and Democracy that the commission is tasked with drafting.
“We requested and obtained Emmanuel Macron’s support and his promise to join with leaders of other democratic countries in launching a political process designed to achieve this international commitment,” Deloire said after the meeting. “This initiative will allow an approach adapted to current and future challenges in order to guarantee that human beings have access to freely reported and reliable news and information in the new context of globalized and digitalized information that is ours today.”
Letters have already been sent to leaders in all continents, and RSF hopes that they will commit as early as mid-November, when dozens of heads of state and government meet in Paris for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War (11 November), for the Paris Peace Forum (11-13 November) and the Internet Governance Forum (12-14 November).
President Macron said that a place would be assigned to the Information and Democracy Commission at the Paris Peace Forum.
The Information and Democracy Commission is completely independent of all centres of political or business power and influence. Although created at RSF’s initiative, it is not bound by RSF’s mandate.