international work day
about the active role
of cartooning in society
journée internationale
de travail sur le rôle actif
du dessin de presse dans la société
اليوم الدولي
للإشتغال على الدور الفعال
لرسوم الصحف في المجتمع

Freedom of speech,
so dear to us

In 1789 article 11 of the Declaration of Human Rights and of the Citizen started with these words: « The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the most precious rights of the Human; every citizen can thus speak, write, print freely […] ». A century and half later, in 1948, this fundamental right was recognised worldwide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is by the reminder of this fundamental Right that I opened the events, exhibition and conference “La Presse en Liberté” (The Press in Liberty) in march 2017, at UNESCO. It seemed essential to me to include today’s meeting within this continuity and support all efforts made by Jérôme Liniger and Nicolas Jacquette, the directors of the Si agency, for the first Cartooning Global Forum to take place in 2018.

The protection of freedom of expression and the security of journalists is one of the most current and sensitive aspects of UNESCO’s mandate. This fundamental right is at the heart of our democratic system, of our culture and values. Our world depends on free exchange and communication, including the most contemporary means of disseminating information, ideas and different perspectives. One of the aspects of freedom of expression, perhaps the most important one, is cartooning and caricature.

This is why the French Delegation supports all initiatives related to these topics. In this sense, I thank all the participants who have put their trust in us and have come from all around the globe to exchange freely and frankly and with such strength and conviction. It is essential that we work together on these questions: What must we do? Through which main channels can we act? Because by recalling the main principles and evoking individual situations, it is above all a matter of understanding how the freedom of cartooning can be better ensured, its creators better protected and how UNESCO and the intergovernmental system of the United Nations can help us in this task.


H. Exc. Mr. Laurent Stéfanini
French Permanent Delegate at UNESCO