Tribute to Christophe Deloire: journalism was his life's struggle

At the invitation of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 1,000 people gathered at the Théâtre Libre in Paris to pay tribute to Christophe Deloire, the organisation's Secretary General, who died on 8 June. A large number of personalities paid tribute to his fight for press freedom and the right to information, including Turkish journalist Can Dündar and Stella Assange, Julian Assange's wife. The Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize winners Dmitri Muratov and Maria Ressa sent a video message.

Christophe Deloire died on Saturday 8 June at the age of 53. The RSF teams paid tribute to him at an evening event held at the Théâtre Libre in Paris on Thursday 20 June. A number of personalities who marked his career as a journalist, director of a journalism school and secretary general of RSF recounted on stage the major stages of his professional career and his fight for press freedom and the right to information. 

"Christophe Deloire combined two essential qualities: he was a man of action, and a man of reflection; he was an activist at heart, as well as a thinker, and he put the combined strength of these two qualities to work for RSF and the cause of freedom of information.

Pierre Haski
President of RSF

After a video introduction by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the evening opened with a sequence on Christophe Deloire's career as a journalist and his work as an author and publisher, in the presence of journalists Christophe Dubois and Henri Pigeat, and the graduating classes of the Centre de formation des journalistes (CFJ) that they directed from 2008 to 2012. Dozens of students took to the stage to salute the journalist and journalism school director: "Thank you, Christophe, for believing in us, for instilling in all of us the values of ethical journalism.”

Over the past twelve years as head of RSF, Christophe Deloire has worked tirelessly for the release of many journalists around the world. During his tenure, at least 1,655 detained journalists were released. Many of them were present at the Théâtre Libre to thank him one last time. They included Mortaza BehboudiOlivier DuboisMathias DepardonCan Dündar and Marina Ovsiannikova. The RSF teams were also joined by lawyer Stella Assange, wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Narges Mohammadi's children.

"My family was reunited thanks to Christophe", said Can Dündar. "He was always by my side until my release. Sometimes one person can make all the difference in your life, and Christophe was one of them." Mortaza Behboudi also praised the tireless work of the Secretary General of RSF: "Dear Christophe, you were always on the front line of this essential fight for press freedom, you worked tirelessly. Your unfailing support was crucial to my own release."

Christophe Deloire's historic fight for information and democracy was celebrated on stage by Camille Grenier, Executive Director of the Forum for Information and Democracy, and Leon Willems, his Vice-President and Director General of the NGO Free Press Unlimited (FPU), a partner organisation of RSF. Bruno Patino, President of Arte France and of the États généraux de l'information, of which Christophe Deloire was general delegate, also spoke on stage. 

To close the evening's tribute to Christophe Deloire, Thibaut Bruttin, his deputy, and Perrine Daubas, his wife, took turns to speak. 

"Christophe was journalism incarnate. He loved this profession terribly and kept his faith in journalism all his life. Above all, Christophe saw what brought people together. This led him to speak to everyone.  Today, his commitments are our commitments. For journalism, for journalists, for the right to information. So if you love Christophe, do what we do: support free, independent and pluralist journalism! Let's keep up the fight!

Thibaut Bruttin
Deputy Director General of RSF

RSF would like to thank journalist Eric Valmir, General Secretary for Information at Radio France, for hosting the evening. The NGO would also like to thank Jean-Marc Dumontet for lending us the Théâtre libre. It was in this venue that RSF organised, under the direction of Christophe Deloire, on 27 June 2023 a major meeting for the independence of journalism in support of the journalists of the Journal du dimanche

Published on