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France21 March 2007

Open letter to next president about press freedom in France

Reporters Without Borders wrote to all of the French presidential candidates several days ago asking them to give concrete undertakings to provide press freedom in France with better protection, if elected. Their replies will be published at the beginning of next month.

“Press freedom should not just be defended abroad, in those near or distant countries where journalists continue to be murdered or imprisoned,” Reporters Without Borders said in its letter to the candidates. “The right to work freely as a journalist must also be guaranteed in France - for the French population, which deserves access to news that is reported in a free and independent manner, and for those abroad, who look at us and judge us. Press freedom in our country should be exemplary in every respect, but unfortunately this is not the case.”

Reporters Without Borders has asked the candidates questions on the following issues:
-   the protection of the confidentiality of sources
-   the concept of “complicity” in the violation of the confidentiality of a judicial investigation
-   the protection of reputation
-   media pluralism and the concentration of media ownership in few hands
-   the creation of new press offences and genocide-denial laws
-   website labelling
-   the dissemination by bloggers of images of violence
-   the responsibility of Internet companies.

“You have on several occasions expressed your commitment to press freedom,” the letter said. “We do not doubt that you will give these questions all the attention they deserve (...) This letter to all the presidential candidates will be made public in a few days. We will also make your replies public in early April, unless you ask us not to.”




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