The Reporters Without Borders founder now a mayor with the French far-right


Robert Ménard, co-founder of the renowned NGO Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières), which has mounted a fierce global campaign over almost a quarter of a century to promote freedom of expression and to defend journalists from persecution, was last weekend elected mayor of Béziers, a large town in southern France. But Ménard’s political ascension has proved to be a severe embarrassment for the NGO, for he was elected with the full backing of France’s far-right Front National party. With the help of Ménard’s former colleagues, Marine Turchi traces the bizarre path of the admired and reviled maverick activist whose early political affiliation was with a French Trotskyist party.  

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Robert Ménard, co-founder of Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), is proving something of an embarrassment to the internationally-renowned French NGO for press freedom, better known in the Anglophone world by the title Reporters Without Borders, as it prepares for its 30th anniversary next year. For Ménard, 60, has just been elected mayor of Béziers, in south-west France, on a ticket backed by the far-right Front National (FN) party.