Reporters Without Borders’ freedom of expression petition flops in France

In the wake of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris on Jan. 7, Reporters Without Borders called on France’s religious leaders to sign a “Declaration on Freedom of Expression”. Three months later, it looks like the petition is a flop.

The campaign was first announced by Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Secretary-General Christophe Deloire at a unity march held in Paris on January 11 in response to the massacre at the satirical weekly, as well as a deadly attack on a kosher grocery store in the east of the French capital.

The petition – which states that “everyone is free to express criticism, even irreverent criticism, of any system of political, philosophical or religious thought” – was officially launched in early February with the help of Jean-Louis Bianco, president of the Observatory of Secularism, a government organisation that focuses on protecting secularism in France.