Jean-Michel Cadiot, 1952-2020: Ardent Defender of Media Independence

, by Admin

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death, on Monday June 1, of Jean-Michel Cadiot at the age of 67. I first got to know and to appreciate Jean-Michel in 2008-9, when he emerged as an indispensable partisan of the petition to defend the independence of Agence France-Presse, the company we both worked for.

Jean-Michel immediately understood that an initiative aimed at the general public, both in France and abroad, needed to stretch far beyond our own milieux as journalists and trade unionists. Possessing an extraordinarily wide network of friends and acquaintances, he plunged into the work of collecting signatures, garnering thousands of names both famous and less famous, from a wide range of backgrounds.

At that time the running of petitions over the internet was still very much a work in progress, and most of our signatures were collected on paper before being transferred manually to the website. That was no problem at all for Jean-Michel, indeed it was almost an advantage since he had an extraordinary gift for human contact.

He alone brought in at least a third of the 21,800 signatures we collected before the initiative was ended in April 2012, and he no doubt gathered the majority of the "famous names".

In the same period we worked together on a non-profit group to defend the same cause, but with less success.

More than just a comrade and a colleague, Jean-Michel became a true friend. In the present period, when media independence is still very much under threat and when the status of AFP could yet again be called into question, he will be greatly missed.

I express all my condolences to his family.

David Sharp, founder of the SOS-AFP website