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RSF FOUNDER RESIGNS

Robert Ménard, a founder of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), is stepping down as head of the group, he announced last week.

"I remain an RSF activist, but I am going to find another way of continuing the struggle I have been carrying out for human rights," he told reporters.

The 55-year-old said he wanted step down as secretary general of the group "once the campaign in China during the Olympic Games was finished."

Known for fighting press freedom violations from the frontlines, Ménard made headlines earlier this year when he was arrested for condemning China's crackdown on Tibet during the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony in Greece.

Ménard set up RSF in 1985 with three other journalists on the model of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and has been secretary general since 1990. He will remain the organisation's honorary president. RSF now has a presence on five continents, publishes its oft-quoted annual report on press freedom, and issues around a thousand press statements a year on free expression abuses.

This year Ménard was recognised by the French state when he was given the country's highest distinction, the Legion of Honour.

He is succeeded by Jean-François Julliard, 35, who has been working at RSF for more than 10 years and is due to start his new role this week.

"My thoughts go out to those for whom we have fought, to the families that have been scarred forever by a death or a disappearance. We cannot abandon this struggle, neither today nor tomorrow... The release of Win Tin (on 16 September), who had been imprisoned in Burma for 19 years, proves we are right. Let us go forward," said Ménard.

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=28749
- AFP: http://tinyurl.com/4q366c
(30 September 2008)

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