It is with great sadness that Reporters Without Borders learned of the death yesterday of the former president of its French section, Pierre Veilletet, at the age of 69. For many years Pierre was engaged in the press freedom organization’s battles. He had been a member of its board since it was founded and chaired the French section from 2003 to 2009.
Born on 2 October 1943 in Momuy in the Landes department of south-west France, he began his career with the daily Sud-Ouest in 1968 and remained closely involved with the newspaper. He was promoted to senior reporter and in 1975 wrote a series of articles on the dying days of the Franco era in Spain, for which he was awarded the Albert-Londres prize.
In 1979 he was appointed editor of the Sunday edition of Sud-Ouest and the same year he founded Les Cahiers de la Corrida, a magazine for fans of bullfighting. A devotee of the region’s culture, Pierre also had a career as an author in parallel with his duties as Sud-Ouest editor, a post he held until May 2000. His first novel, “La Pension des Nonnes” published in 1986, won the François-Mauriac prize.
He was a meticulous and noted writer who espoused high-quality journalism. As a member of the French Press Council steering committee (APCP), he was among those who launched a code of professional ethics and standards. Reporters Without Borders honours his memory and expresses its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.