World Press Freedom Day 2012 [fr]
World Press Freedom Day 2012 : Tribute to Lucas Dolega, Gilles Jacquier, and Rémi Ochlik
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day and to mark France’s commitment to this fundamental freedom, the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry is paying tribute to Lucas Deloga, Gilles Jacquier, and Rémi Ochlik – French journalists and photographers who died on assignment in Tunisia (2011) and Syria (2012).
Through them, the Foreign Ministry is paying tribute to the courage, freedom, and talent of photographers and journalists who – around the world, despite censorship and repression – are taking risks to inform us about the world’s realities and warn us about manipulating information and ideas.
By doing their job – performing their duty to inform – they are defending our freedom. They put words, pictures, and sounds to the suffering – as well as the hopes – of those who, without them, would be condemned to silence.
A French journalist for the France 2’s Envoyé Spécial news magazine, Gilles Jacquier was killed on January 11th, 2012 in Homs, Syria.
Distinguished by several major journalism awards including the prestigious Prix Albert Londres Audio-visual in 2003, Gilles Jacquier began his career as a reporter in 1999. He covered many conflicts: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during which he was wounded by sniper fire in Nablus in 2002.
Franco-German journalist, Lucas von Zabiensky Mebrouk Dolega was killed on January 17th, 2011 in Tunis.
After beginning his work as a photojournalist with the Nouvel Observateur, he went to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2002. In 2006, he joined the EPA and EFE agencies and covered world news: clashes around the CPE (First Employment Contract) in Paris in 2006, civil war in North Kivu in the Congo in 2008, the “red shirts” rebellion in Bangkok in 2010, and finally the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia in 2011. On January 14th, 2011, he was hit by a tear gas grenade and died three days later at a clinic.
Lucas Dolega was the first foreign journalist to be killed in Tunisia during the Arab Spring.
French war photographer, Rémi Ochlik was killed on February 22nd, 2012 in the bombing of the Baba Amro district in Homs, Syria.
In 2004 – although he had not yet graduated – he went to cover the protests against President Aristide in Haiti. His work earned him the François-Chalais Young Reporter Award and was presented during the “Visa pour l’Image” festival in Perpignan. He founded his own press agency, IP3 Press, which aims to cover conflicts throughout the world such as the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008. In 2011, he covered the Arab Spring revolts and conflicts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. He received several awards for his photographs, including posthumously.
On this World Press Freedom Day, my thoughts go first and foremost to Lucas Deloga, Gilles Jacquier and Rémi Ochlik, the French journalists and photographers killed in recent months while reporting in Tunisia and Syria, as well as to their family and friends. I wanted the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to pay tribute to them by presenting their most symbolic photos of the Arab Spring and their democratic aspirations on the France diplomatie website.
This day also gives me an opportunity to reaffirm that France is strongly mobilized, in Paris and in Bogota, to secure the release of France 24’s Roméo Langlois, who has been held hostage since Saturday.
Last year, according to figures provided by Reporters Without Borders, around 66 journalists were killed, while about a thousand were arrested and imprisoned.
I want to pay tribute to all those journalists who give their lives or their freedom to carry out a profession that is often dangerous, in order to uncover the truth in countries that have been torn apart by violent conflict or are under the grip of dictators.
We must also commend the courage of all those throughout the world who risk their lives to defend the basic human right of press freedom and freedom of expression, while violations of this universal, essential right persist in many countries.
The freedom to exercise the profession of journalism is a priority of our human rights policy. Indeed, everyone knows that the first instinct of the enemies of freedom is to silence the press, and that the freedom fighters’ greatest ally is the free media. France is in this respect especially vigilant with respect to the freedom of cyberspace.