Over the coming ten days, AFP staff are called upon to choose their two representatives on the AFP board of governors.
In normal circumstances, our association would not feel called upon to express a view on this, as the vote is internal to AFP.
But this year, the basic principles of the agency's activites are once again being threatened. Both in Paris and Brussels, politicians are seeking to limit the scope of AFP's general interest mission, which has its roots in the 1957 law laying down its statutes. To do this, they are seeking to restrict the meaning of a 2012 amendment to that law, which defined the mission in terms compatible with European Union treaties.
They notably propose to create new subsidiaries, which would be exempted from the basic missions laid down in the statutes. The European Commission also claims the right to set a time-limit on AFP's general-interest mission, which it proposes to have lapse after ten years.
That is completely unacceptable.
Between June 10 and 20, AFP staff worldwide are called upon to elect a journalist and a non-journalist to the AFP board, as laid down in the statutes.
The two "non-journalist" candidates are both trade unionists, and both represent unions which have consistently worked to defend AFP's statutes.
However the two candidates running for the journalist seat on the board represent very different points of view. One of them has worked tirelessly to defend the agency's independence, during the successful struggle to block reforms mooted by two CEO's - Pierre Louette and then Emmanuel Hoog.
The other candidate represents a current of opinion which over the past ten years has never clearly fought against reform plans, even the most dangerous, and has even given them qualified support in several cases.
ADIAFP calls on AFP's journalists all over the world to vote for an intransigent defence of the agency's founding principles by voting for Samir Douaihy.
Paris, Tuesday June 10, 2014