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Michele Leridon dies

Michèle Léridon – an iconic figure of French journalism passed suddenly

Michèle Léridon, a great figure of French journalism, died suddenly at the age of 62 on May 3rd, causing tremendous grief in the journalistic world in France and beyond.

Michèle Léridon was member of the French Supreme Audiovisual Council CSA that oversees French TV and Radio and had spent 37 years of her working life in the french news agency AFP where she also became the first female global news director. She covered conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1990s and later became the first woman to oversee all of AFP’s Africa coverage. During her tenure, she pushed for a better representation of women in AFP’s content, while also leading the rapid expansion of its video and fact-checking departments.


“A woman of conviction, Michele Leridon was a great journalist, unanimously respected for her rich experience and great intellectual rigour,” the CSA said in a statement.”Michele taught me a huge amount on my arrival at AFP, when she was Global News Director,” said CEO Fabrice Fries.”We are all shocked and devastated by the sudden loss of Michele,” added Phil Chetwynd, who succeeded Leridon as global news director. “She was not only an outstanding journalist, but also a courageous leader of the AFP newsroom who was greatly admired for her honesty and integrity. It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside her.””She was the standard-bearer for a generation of women who fought to break through the glass ceiling in senior posts,” added AFP’s ex-CEO Emmanuel Hoog, who appointed her to the top position.Leridon, who was also an administrative member of Reporters Without Borders for several years, left AFP in early 2019 to join the CSA, a small body of experts that guides electronic media.She played a major role in devising the CSA’s approach to online platforms and social media, and was due to hold the position until 2025.

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