We were concerned to learn of the conclusions of Reporters sans Frontières’ latest report, published on April 25 and outlining an upsurge in hostility toward the media and journalists.
Amid a proliferation of crises, journalists are increasingly targeted. Defending the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, protecting journalists as they exercise their profession, and combating impunity for those who attack these fundamental principles, are foreign policy priorities for France.
France therefore supports numerous initiatives, including the establishment via UN General Assembly resolution 68/163 of an International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and the project to create a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the Protection of Journalists, as President Macron reiterated last September at the UN General Assembly. We also support the efforts of the UN Secretariat, working closely with the NGO Reporters sans Frontières, to establish a Focal Points Network to bolster the effectiveness of existing mechanisms at the UN.
France is also working within the UN to ensure respect for the principles of the freedom of the press and expression and calls for the full implementation of resolutions 1738 and 2222 on the protection of journalists in armed conflict, adopted by the Security Council on December 23, 2006, and May 27, 2015, respectively.
That is why France took the initiative to host “Civil society, media and public authorities: democracies facing the manipulation of information,” an international conference in Paris on April 4 in line with France’s policy on the protection of the freedom of expression. As Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed on that occasion, “journalism is an instrument of freedom without which citizenship cannot be exercised in an enlightened way.” The right to inform or to be informed and the ability to express critical views are vital to democratic debate.
Disinformation campaigns are based on the massive, malicious use of cyberspace and represent a threat to democracy and an attack on the sovereignty of the states that are targeted. Disseminating reliable, verified, solid information while respecting the pluralism of opinion is an important challenge for democracy
With their exacting professional standards, journalists and media personnel are active participants in this regard.