Founded in 1985, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) became one of the world’s leading NGOs in the defence and promotion of freedom of information. RSF is registered in France as a non- profit organization based in Paris, with consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF). Our foreign sections, bureaux in ten cities, and a network of correspondents in 130 countries give us the ability to mobilize support, challenge governments and wield influence both on the ground and in the ministries and precincts where media and Internet standards and legislation are drafted. Every day, we issue press releases and reports in French, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Farsi (and often in other languages such as Chinese, Portuguese and Russian) about the state of freedom of information throughout the world and how it is being violated. These statements in the international media increase public awareness and influence leaders as regards both individual cases and general issues.
However when promoting the freedom of media and information worldwide, we cannot turn a blind eye on the misuse and blatant violations of these liberties. They need to be tackled, just as forcefully as any other attack, to protect the freedoms so dear to us. This is the time to look in the mirror. We believe that the current buzz around “Fake News” – as problematic in every sense this term seems, could und must be turned into an opportunity of constructive self- reflection of our profession, including a meaningful and visible response to it where needed. Therefore, our “Journalism Trust Initiative” is designed to launch a debate about accountability of the Fourth Estate. Freedom comes with responsibilities. Addressing them pro-actively and self- determined as a professional community will be much easier and more likely successful than regulatory action being superimposed on us.
With a leading voice as a frontrunner in this debate and a background free of any partisan interests in it, we see our role as a convening power and a neutral provider of this platform of exchange.