Reporters Without Borders


December 8, 2021

Reporters without Borders (RSF, in French: Reporters sans frontières) is an international non-governmental organization whose stated aim is to defend press freedom around the world. RSF was created in France by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and Jean-Claude Guillebaud in 1985. Its headquarters are in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. In its press releases and in its publications, RSF states: In 2020, it is experiencing a crisis linked to its proximity to the French government, whose bills are considered by many journalists as obstacles to the freedom to inform.

Lines of Action

The RSF lines of action, explained on the entity's website, are: to defend journalists and media collaborators imprisoned or persecuted for their professional activity, and to denounce the ill-treatment and torture to which they are victims in many countries; fight to roll back censorship and fight laws aimed at restricting press freedom; grant nearly three hundred assistance grants each year to assist journalists or media outlets in difficulty, as well as the families of imprisoned reporters. take action to improve the safety of journalists, particularly in conflict zones. RSF is a member and founder of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a worldwide network of more than 70 non-governmental freedom of expression organizations that monitor violations freedom of the press and expression, promoting campaigns to defend journalists, writers, Internet users and others who may be victims of persecution for exercising the right to expression. In 2005, the organization was awarded the Sakharov Prize for freedom of spirit, conferred by the European Parliament. For the period from October 2008 to January 2012, its general secretary is Jean-François Julliard, succeeding Robert Ménard, who has headed the organization since its foundation. The organization has been criticized for its campaigns against Cuba and Venezuela, for its refusal to address press freedom issues in France, and for its actions against the holding of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Furthermore, it is criticized for being partially funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Open Society Institute of George Soros, the Center for Free Cuba, the European Union and large transnational corporations.

Annual report

RSF publishes each year a report on the state of press freedom in the world. This document, which is heavily publicized at each appearance, is based on several criteria to assess real press freedom in each country, considering everything from attacks on journalists to the existence of laws that may hinder or limit that freedom.


In 2007 there were questions about the organization's funding sources and criticism of the positions taken by its general secretary, Robert Menard, on the practice of torture. The analysis of RSF's accounts, done by independent reporters in 2005, and Robert Ménard's alleged link to the CIA, as well as his statements that the use of torture would be justified in some cases. The RSF has received criticism in the past decade for accept funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the United States and the Center for a Free Cuba. At the time, Secretary General Robert Ménard pointed out that NED funding totaled 0.92 percent of Reporters Without Borders' budget and was used to support African journalists and their families. RSF ended its relationship with the Center for a Free Cuba in 2008. Robert Ménard, former president of Reporters Without Borders, believes that the criticisms to which he is subject, as well as to Reporters without Borders, originate in particular from the Cuban regime and its political supporters; he considers that the Castro regime is “behind what

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