October 2009: The First 20,000 signatures!

The petition for the independence and survival of Agence France-Presse, launched by the trade unions at the end of last year, has just passed the milestone of its 20,000th individual signature.

We extend our warm thanks to all our signatories, who also include almost 200 NGOs, trade unions and other organisations.

We now need to go much farther, as the plans for a total transformation of our agency are becoming clearer by the day. Our petition is more relevant than ever.

The great diversity of our signatories... shows just how much citizens all over the world as well as in France are attached to AFP, to its protection and its independence.

Among the many leading personalities who have signed (see the list on this site ) are:

Henri Alleg, Pierre Arditi, Raymond Aubrac, Martine Aubry, François Bayrou, Guy Bedos, Olivier Besancenot, André Boniface, Hervé Bourges, José Bové, Rony Brauman, Marie-George Buffet, Roland Castro, Robert Chambeiron, Jean Charbonnel, François Chérèque, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, Noam Chomsky, Gérard Collomb, Michèle Cotta, Philippe Dechartre, Bertrand Delanoë, Jacques Delors, Yohann Diniz, Cécile Duflot, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Charles Enderlin, Laurent Fabius, Jacques Gaillot, Edouard Glissant, Stéphane Hessel, Albert Jacquard, Jean-François Julliard, Axel Kahn, Jean-François Kahn, Théo Klein, Jean Lacouture, Arlette Laguiller, Jack Lang, Bernard Langlois, Corinne Lepage, Vincent Lindon, Jean-Claude Mailly, Edmond Maire, Noël Mamère, Bruno Masure, Jean Mauriac, Federico Mayor, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Daniel Mermet, Danielle Mitterrand, Ariane Mnouchkine, Edgar Morin, Michel Onfray, Edwy Plenel, Bernard Poulet, Eric Rouleau, Ségolène Royal, Claude Servan-Schreiber, Maurice Siné, Philippe Sollers, Franck Sorbier, Catherine Tasca, Christiane Taubira, Bernard Thibault, Manuel Valls, Jacques Voisin, Dominique Voynet, Pierre Whalon and Jean Ziegler.

Signatories to date also include thousands of journalists, teachers, students, artists and citizens from all walks of life, attached to the independence of the media and particularly that of AFP.

The key demands laid out in the petition state:

"We reject any change which would have the effect of either turning AFP into a government agency, or handing it over either wholly or partially to private companies of any type and in whatever form.

"We demand that the agency retain its specific characteristics, its ability to carry out its mission in the general interest and its structural independence. We therefore oppose any changes which would compromise its statutes, laid down in a law passed by the French parliament in 1957."

The joint AFP unions call on everyone everywhere to sign the petition, available online at http://www.sos-afp.org.

.../...At the end of our campaign, the complete list of signatories will be printed out and handed in to the French government and AFP's management.

Thank you for your support.

The CGT, CFDT, FO, SNJ, SUD and CFE-CGC trade unions at Agence France-Presse, Paris, Wednesday October 21, 2009.