True inspiration: Tributes flow as Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters Without Borders dies

RSF General Secretary Christophe Deloire attends a demonstration in Paris in 2017. Photo: AP/Kamil Zihnioglu

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Paris— In a solemn announcement issued by the esteemed organisation's headquarters in Paris, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) conveyed the heartbreaking news of the passing of their esteemed Secretary General, Christophe Deloire.

Known as a tireless defender of press freedom worldwide, Deloire's legacy is one of unwavering dedication and unparalleled advocacy.

Christophe's untimely demise, which occurred on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the age of 53 following a courageous battle with cancer, has left a profound void in the global journalistic community. His passing was announced by RSF in a condolence statement, which highlighted Deloire's extraordinary contributions to the defense of press freedom and his pivotal role in transforming RSF into a formidable force for journalism.

“Tibet Post International team deeply regret to learn in a statement in an email from RSF team—Thibaut, Elodie, Antoine, and Laetitia—that Christophe Deloire, director-general of Paris-based global press freedom watchdog “Reporters Without Borders” died on Sunday, June 9, 2024, early morning,” said Yeshe Choesang, TPI Editor-in-Chief, in a condolence statement.

“Yeshe Choesang with much sympathy extends his heartfelt condolences to late Christophe Deloire’s wife Perrine, son Nathan, parents, relatives, and all friends and supporters who must have been touched and saddened by this irreparable loss,” added Choesang. “I remember Christophe Deloire as a true champion of press freedom who dedicated his life for advocacy. He was a tireless and exceptional explorer for press freedom defense all over the world. I recall his strong and clear voices against press violations in Tibet,” said Choesang.

Choesang remembered his friendship with late Christophe Deloire in Paris. “I had privilege to meet him on several occasions in Paris where I expressed my thanks for RSF’s continued support to TPI,” said Choesang. “The TPI team deeply regret to learn in a statement in an email from RSF team—that Christophe Deloire died. We shared the same sad news with his colleagues, partners, and supporters all over the world who mourn his death as a true champion for democracy and human rights,” added Choesang.

“Christophe Deloire headed the organisaion at a key time for the right to information. His work for defending this fundamental right was very important. The Board of Directors shares in the grief of his family and friends,” said Pierre Haski, RSF’s Board of Directors Chairman, in a statement.

Deloire had been Secretary General of RSF for 12 years since 2012, the year when RSF turned for growth and became a powerful journalism to defend. Under his strong leadership, RSF has emerged as a leading global organization for the defense of. Outside RSF, Deloire was an investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, author, and educator who dedicated his life for free expression and democracy.

As the global media community mourns the loss of a stalwart defender of press freedom, the torchbearer of Deloire's legacy remains firmly in the hands of RSF and its dedicated network of correspondents, partners, and supporters. In this challenging time, the resolve to uphold the principles for which Deloire fervently fought is stronger than ever.

Christophe Deloire may have left this earth, but his fearlessness, integrity, and indefatigable will to work at upholding press freedom will keep inspiring multitudes of scribes and activists globally. As the sun sets on his remarkable life, the beacon of press freedom shines brighter than ever, illuminating the path for those who dare to speak truth to power.

In a tribute on X, French President Emmanuel Macron said Deloire "had journalism at his heart." He had fought 'tirelessly' for freedom of information and democratic debate," Macron further said, adding, "His universal fight remains ours."

Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, Chair of the ECPMF Executive Board, along with Rebecca Harms, Vice Chair of the ECPMF Executive Board, conveyed condolences to Christophe Deloire's family, colleagues, and friends, acknowledging his impactful work for press freedom, noting his unmistakable voice in collaborations with RSF, ensuring his legacy endures within the global journalists’ community.

On X, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists expressed being "deeply saddened" by Deloire's passing, while Phil Chetwynd, Global News Director of Agence France-Presse, described Deloire as "an indefatigable supporter of press freedom."

The group has had no fear of angering powerful figures, labelling leaders such as China's Xi Jinping, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "predators" of press freedom.

Emily Wilkins, president of the National Press Club in Washington, said: "Our hearts go out to Christophe's family at this time and to all in the RSF community and indeed to everyone around the world who has been touched by his compassion and inspired by his leadership."

"We are distressed that he has gone, and we send our sympathy with heartfelt affection to his family and RSF colleagues. We will do everything we can to honour his memory by continuing the fight he led so valiantly", the Ethical Journalism Network said in a statement.