Movement of the “yellow vests”, League of LOL, infox… The news is at the service of the thematic 2019 of the festival’s intellectual Voice of Orleans. From April 4 to 6, fifty stakeholders will come lively debates around the rights to information and the issue of freedom of the press in the French-speaking world. Through lectures, exhibitions and projections, intellectuals, writers and artists will try in particular to answer to a central question: informing today, is to enlighten the minds or is this the orient?

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An event which every year brings together nearly 2 000 participants. “This remains an event that is humble, still young, but which generates interest,” says Sophie Ferkatadji, programmer of the Voice of Orleans and Director of the culture and of the artistic creation in Orleans.

LE FIGARO. – “The Voice of Orleans” existed for four years, what is the primary purpose of this event?

“When the information is muzzled, so too are the human rights that are silenced”

Sophie FERKATADJI. – Resume the battle of ideas. After the terrorist attacks of 2015, the mayor of Orleans wanted to give the floor to the francophone voices that had spoken and who had recalled their commitment to the values of the Enlightenment and of the French republic. Resume the debate of ideas in the face of the obscurantism and to remember the importance of freedom of information but also of tolerance and freedom of opinion.

Why have you chosen to focus the discussions of this 4th edition around the theme of “Inform, at any price?”?

We have chosen to address the issue of the right to inform and the right to information, because these two rights are abused in this moment. Tossed by the receivers, which have more and more doubt and distance in relation to the media. Harassed also by some political bodies, which slide towards populism and questioning journalists. When the information is muzzled, so too are the human rights that are muzzled. Two main aspects will be discussed: that of freedom and of the protection of journalists so they can do their job freely and that the operation of the information profession, in other words, how to act when one has the power to inform.

With the manifestations of the “yellow vests”, the proliferation of infox, or the scandal of the “league of the LOL”, did you think you be so much in the news with this theme?

“In a number of countries francophones or francophiles, the freedom of information is not always respected”

We took the decision of the theme at the end of the edition of last year. We didn’t imagine that there would be such a development of populism, an increase in the malicious use of social networks and a proliferation of false information.

What is the relationship between the theme of this year, and the francophonie?

We have great French-language media in France, such as France 24, TV5 Monde, RFI… They carry through the world a certain idea of the values of the francophonie and of the Enlightenment. In a number of countries francophones or francophiles, the freedom of information is not always respected. I think Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, the democratic Republic of the Congo… through The large French media, we give some idea of the quality of information, the report to the public and the training of journalists. The French-speaking world will be particularly questioned.

How would you define the role of the journalist in a democracy?

Someone who will enlighten them. It is not a university but to inform, because it highlights things deliberately concealed. It is often criticized because he is the “hair scraping” of the world political, economic or even cultural, but his work allows to sharpen the critical mind of the receiver by providing facts. You should also ask how journalists can enlighten the minds and not the guide.

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