May 2009 : Launch of an "Association to Defend the Independence of AFP"

NB: At an extraordinary general assembly held on October 30, 2014, the members of ADIAFP decided to dissolve it as a formal "association" under French law. The documents will remain on this web site as an information resource.

Agence France-Presse is one of the small number of international agencies which provide much of the world's general-interest news.

The ADIAFP was set up in May 2009 by a small group of AFP employees seeking to alert public opinion, both in France and around the world, to efforts by the French government to change its founding statutes. These efforts are continuing in 2011 as a new bill before parliament would make AFP more dependent on the state.

Statutes (extract)

The following is a partial translation of the statutes into English; see the French part of our site for the full original version.

Article 1:

Is hereby created, between the signatories of the present statutes, a non-profit association governed by the French law of July 1, 1901 and the decree of August 16, 1901, with the name of "Association to Defend the Independence of Agence France-Presse". For convenience, the association may use the abbreviated title "ADIAFP".

Article 2: Purpose of the Association

The association's aims are to:

  1. work for the preservation of the French Act of Parliament n°57-32 dated January 10, 1957 laying down the statutes of Agence France-Presse (referred to hereafter as  "the Agency", or AFP);
  2. pursue an open and democratic campaign against any and all projects seeking to abolish or water down the said statutes, be it by turning the Agency into a state company or by privatising it;
  3. work towards the drawing-up and implementation of a true General Interest Mission for the Agency, to apply to all its working languages and all its forms of journalistic production;
  4. campaign for the preservation of the full range of activities laid down for the Agency in its 1957 statutes, ie the collecting, editing and distribution of a complete, objective, precise,  impartial and trustworthy news service;
  5. support and take part in all public initiatives likely to promote the above-mentioned aims and principles;
  6. support initiatives seeking to combat excessive concentration in the media sector, and to defend the independence of the press generally.

Article 3: Headquarters

The association's headquarters are in Paris. They can be transferred by a simple decision of the board.

Article 4: Duration

The association has no fixed termination date.

Article 5: Members

  • The membership is composed only of individuals, who can be either honorary members, benefactors or normal members.
  • Honorary members are those people singled out by the board for services rendered to the association. They are dispensed from paying an annual membership fee, and may take part and vote in general assemblies.
  • Benefactors are members who agree to pay a special fee set by the board. They may may part and vote in general assemblies.
  • Normal members pay the basic annual fee set by the board. They may may part and vote in general assemblies.

Article 6: Admission Procedure

All membership applications are to be made in writing and submitted to the board, which rules on the admissibility of the person without being required to justify its decision.

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Article 9: Responsibility of Members

No members bear any individual responsibility for any commitments taken on by the association. Only the association's assets can be used to finance its commitments.

As regards the management of the association, responsibility lies with the members of the board and its steering committee, subject to the rulings of the relevant courts.

Article 10: The Board

The association is run and administered by a board comprising at least three and at most 12 members. They are elected for two years, and may stand for re-election at the end of that period. In the event of a vacancy on the board, its other members provisionally co-opt a new member until the following general assembly, when a new election takes place.

All members who have belonged to the association for at least two months, are aged 18 or over and have paid their membership dues, are eligible for election to the board.

Any board member who without a valid excuse has failed to attend three or more consecutive meetings may be deemed to have resigned.
 

Article 11: Board Meetings
 

The board meets at least twice a year. It must also convene a meeting if at least half of its members demand one.

At least two weeks before a board meeting, the president must inform members in writing, providing the proposed agenda.
Board members may communicate between themselves, and if necessary take decisions concerning the running of the association, by electronic mail.

All decisions at board meetings are adopted by a simple majority vote. In the event of a tie, the president has the casting vote.

All board proceedings are to be noted in a special register and signed by the president and secretary.

Rules regarding the quorum for board meetings are laid down in the association's internal regulations.
 

Article 12: Board Steering Committee
 

Every two years the board elects a bureau, or steering committee comprising:

  • a president, and if deemed necessary, a vice-president
  • a treasurer, and if deemed necessary, a secretary

The procedures for electing the steering committee are laid down in the internal regulations.

The president convenes and presides the steering committee. He or she represents the association in any legal proceedings and in all other formal procedures.

Subject to oversight by the board, the president may delegate his or her prerogatives to another board member. If the board so decides, the president may be appointed administrative manager of the association.

The treasurer keeps the association's accounts.

The steering committee draws up the agenda for board meetings, carries out the decisions made by them and takes care of the day-to-day running of the association in the periods between board meetings.
The steering committee is also in charge of statutory correspondence, and in particular the formal convening of meetings. It draws up minutes of statutory meetings and ensures that they are recorded in the relevant files for future reference.

Any public stance or statement made on behalf of the steering committee must be submitted in advance, as far as is practically possible, to the board.

Article 13: Emoluments and Expenses
 

Members of the board do not receive any emoluments; their services are unpaid.
However expenses incurred by the responsibilities of their mandate may be reimbursed, on production of the relevant documents.

The financial report submitted to the annual general meeting must mention all such reimbursements for expenses incurred by board members, such as travel costs.

Article 14: The Board's Prerogatives
 

The board has the widest possible powers within the limits set by the association's aims, and the framework of resolutions adopted by general meetings.

It can authorise all acts or operations which do not fall under the statutory purview of either ordinary or extraordinary general meetings.

It rules on the admission of members, and confers where appropriate the titles of honorary member or benefactor. The board also rules on any measures of exclusion or striking-off of members.

The board oversees the actions of members of the steering committee, who must report to it on their activities during its meetings.

It authorises the opening of all bank accounts, carries out all banking operations on behalf of the association, engages all and any loan operations, applies for all grants, and deals with all required registrations or records.

The board authorises the president or the treasurer to carry out all acts, divestments or investments that may be deemed necessary involving any assets or goods belonging to the association, and to engage in any contracts required by the pursuit of its aims.

The board may delegate all or part of its prerogatives to the steering commitee.
 

Article 15: Annual General Meeting

The ordinary annual general meeting convenes once a year. It comprises all members of the association who are up to date with their membership fees, including any honorary members.

The ordinary general assembly is convened by the president of the association. Members must be notified of it in writing (via postal mail and/or e-mail) at least two weeks in advance. The announcement must include the agenda of the meeting, which is drafted by the board.

The general meeting hears a financial report from the board on the accounts of the association, and an activity report from the president.
The assembly may appoint an auditor to check the association's accounts. After having deliberated and voted on the different reports, the general meeting examines the budget for the coming year, and on the other points on the agenda.

The general assembly elects members of the board for the coming period. Its decisions are adopted on a simple majority basis, with votes cast by members who are either present in person or represented.
Voting takes place by a show of hands, except for elections to the board, for which a secret ballot is required.

Resolutions adopted by the general assembly are only valid if they relate to issues raised in the meeting's agenda.
The general assembly is chaired by the association's president, or by another member of the steering committee if he or she is unable to attend.

The proceedings of the meeting are noted down in formal minutes which are countersigned by the president.

Any member of the association who is unable to be present at a general meeting may ask another member to vote by proxy in his or her place. No member present at an assembly may hold more than two such proxy mandates.
Attendance at the meeting is noted, with each member signing present, as certified by the chair. All mandates must also be declared in the attendance register.
 

Article 16: Extraordinary General Meeting
 

If the need arises, or if at least half plus one of the association's members demand it, the president convenes an extraordinary general meeting, following the procedures laid down in Article 15.

For its proceedings to be valid, at least half the association's members must be either present or represented at an extraordinary general meeting.
If the quorum is not reached, a second extraordinary general meeting may be convened two weeks later. This second meeting may deliberate however many members are present or represented.

The association's internal regulations may authorise, and define the rules, for a postal vote during an extraordinary general meeting.

Decisions taken by an extraordinary general meeting concerning to either change the association's statutes or to dissolve the association must be adopted by at least two thirds of members who are either present, represented or who vote by correspondence.

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The above statutes were registered in Paris on Thursday May 28, 2009 by Jean-Michel Cadiot (president) and David Sharp (treasurer). The ADIAFP formally came into existence on June 27, 2009, when its founding was noted in the French government gazette (Journal Officiel)


Postal Address: ADIAFP, 1 rue Mouton-Duvernet, 75014 Paris, France