Mr Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie,Abdou DIOUF,Mr Mayor, Mr Bertrand DELANOË,Madam President of the Albert London Prize Association, Mr Josette ALIA,Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the jury,Dear Albert London Prize Winners,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends,

I always found it eminently symbolic that the name of the first great reporter
as if the very emblem of journalism
investigation and great reporting was necessarily, in its very name,
off-centre, open to the outside world. Nomen is omen: «the name is an omeage», said
the Ancients, very sensitive to this kind of mysterious predestination.
In fact, the one for whom “the only line is the railway line” will not stop
to travel the world in all directions, from Europe to Soviet Russia, countries
China and Indochina, including psychiatric hospitals
French and by the penal colony of Cayenne…
So let this Albert London Award – the Goncourt of Journalism, our Pulitzer
– be presented here, in this House of Journalists, is a very beautiful symbol of
this openness to the world. Because, as I could see from my own eyes, everything
the time, this House is that of all journalists, exiled from their country,
coming from all walks of life, without any border of language or culture
of this profession-world, which – and this is a truly exceptional thing – is
united, across the globe, by common values, those forged by
Enlightenment: freedom of opinion, attachment to authenticity of facts, to truth,
as unpleasant as it may be for the powers in place…
On this International Press Freedom Day, I certainly wanted to come
in person for the presentation of this iconic award, congratulate both
and recognize the entire profession for the exceptional quality of a
This is a mission that it pays a high price in often very risky theatres of operation.
We can only be alarmed by the violence against journalists across the world, and
that this “culture of freedom” is not the best thing in the world
shared… It is fragile; preserving it is a societal challenge, because it is obvious
that without a press of opinion, there is no freedom of expression, that without journalists,
there is no rule of law.
At a time when the entire press is going through a particularly difficult time,
breaking with its old models, under the pressure of the economic crisis
on the one hand, but also, and more sustainably, the digital revolution, I wanted to
show my full support, that of the government, fully mobilized, you the
know, to give the profession the means to overcome this crisis and engage
its necessary recasting.
The exceptional public aid granted at the end of the Estates General of the
press to facilitate this consolidation. The press
need for industrial responses to industrial problems. Some have
were brought in record times; others still require any
the attention of public authorities, such as the issue of distribution,
dossier on which I am actively working, in consultation with the Prime
Minister. How to imagine pluralism and press freedom without a
viable distribution system at the service of each of our fellow citizens?
That is why the government recently introduced the
conditions under which it will accompany the reform of distribution,
supporting daily newspapers of general information submitted to
logistical constraints. Mediation currently
entrusted to Roch-Olivier
by the end of the month.
But the effort made to overcome the industrial handicaps of the press
is a step, a first step in a way. This commitment
of the State must not make us lose sight of the fact that the
In the long term, all actors must give priority to changes,
more in-depth information and practice
To preserve and develop quality information content, and
in the most favourable economic conditions for all
actors – publishers and journalists – we must commit resources to
innovation, the development of a digital press, the
vocational, initial and continuing training, that is to say to adapt
journalism to the new media “ecosystem” in
We must, at the same time, stimulate demand and renew
offering, that is, reinventing editorial practices and the
journalism in the digital age.
It is in this spirit that, from the end of the States General, the
with the social partners, to upgrade the
profession of journalist. The first act was the HADOPI law of 12 June
2009, which modernized the copyright regime for journalists:
their inalienable moral right, they now enjoy the
remuneration of economic rights under certain conditions.
Among other measures to reaffirm the presence of the press
in the new media, the State concluded, on 30 September 2009, with the
social partners of the written press, a commitment to development
employment and skills to support and anticipate change
jobs and professional qualifications brought about by the revolution
More than a year after the closing of the States General, I remain very attentive to
the promotion of the profession of journalism. This is
why I am pleased to confirm today that a conference
will meet in September next
Paris. Organized by journalism schools and placed under the
joint patronage of the Ministry of Culture and
Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and
State Secretariat for Employment, it is intended to strengthen the
dialogue between journalism students, professional journalists,
publishers and social partners. This annual meeting will concern all
media, and allow the various partners to exchange their
proposals to facilitate the transfer of these professions, to encourage
new activities and forms of employment, and
account for the training consequences of this phenomenon.
In a period of explosion of the digital offer, it also seems
that the entire profession, honoured today through this
Albert London Award, reaffirms its values, that of journalism
quality. Verification of facts, rigour, respect of the right of persons,
independence and freedom: these are the cardinal values that
trust your audiences and build the credibility of your message.
That is why I want to commend the work on a code of ethics,
produced under the aegis of Bruno FRAPPAT, which resulted in a text
both demanding, balanced and consensual. I am pleased that RADIO
FRANCE has already taken it over, and several organisations,
as the National Daily Press Union (QDPN) or the
National Union of Journalists (SNJ) expressed interest in
this text: I sincerely hope that this example will be followed by all
other forms of press. We all stand to gain.
Despite its current difficulties, I am convinced that the press
information, written and audiovisual, has a very bright future ahead of it. I
knows that it will be able to adapt to contemporary developments and respond
the challenges she faces, including the digital challenge, to remain
that it must be the oxygen of our democracy. I am
convinced that Albert London did not say, nor write, his last word, and I
We are delighted that you have met the founding requirement symbolized by her name, in
around the world, serving information excellence.
I would like to congratulate in advance this year’s two recipients (including myself
leave it to last year’s recipients to reveal the names), as I
must now leave you for other pursuits – just as
important for the press, since this is a meeting devoted to
“Future expenditures”: and I will tell you, in my turn, that I do not know
also, “only one line: that of the Future”…