The Latin term ‘expressis verbis‘ means ‘explicitly’, i.e.: that which is expressed clearly, completely, and unambiguously.
The aim of the Expressis Verbis website is to contribute to public discussion and debate by providing well-researched and as reliable as possible information, clearly argued analyses, reflections and reasoned critical perspectives on current issues.
On the one hand, we are trying to respond to a growing sense of unease that we share with many citizens about the reliability and conflicts of interest of the mainstream media. The pandemic has shown how problematic the synchronizing of political communication in media can be.
On the other hand, by contributing to information, critical analysis and debate, we intend to reaffirm the importance of civil society within the public sphere, where the orientations and values that underpin our democratic societies are discussed and negotiated.
According to a classical definition, civil society constitutes that part of the public sphere which is neither state nor market. As such, civil society is not only a democratic counterweight to the interests of the state and the economy, but also a place where there is, or should be, equal participation in public discourse and reflection. In contrast to the state and the market, civil society advocates the normative values of autonomy, self-organization, freedom of expression and the common good, while remaining insulated from political power struggles and the pecuniary interests of the market.
Our readers will notice nonetheless that some of our authors currently publish their contributions under a ‘pen name’; a pseudonym that is supposed to protect their personal identity.
How, one might rightly ask, is this game of hide-and-seek compatible with information and transparency? Why do people who intend to contribute to public information and discussion do so in a hidden way?
As the case of our collaborator Dr. Benoît Ochs proves that speaking in public today, defending argued opinions that rely on scientific studies, or even that expressing reasonable and reasoned questions with regard to certain political orientations and corporate interests, in one’s own name can lead to deeply damaging professional, family and personal consequences.
Dr. Ochs is currently not the only one of our members to suffer extraordinary consequences – the threat of a one-year ban from practicing and earning a living – for his courage and commitment to transparency and open debate.
Other contributors have been exposed to personal media chastising and strong professional pressures. That is why we are now aware that defending freedom of expression, access to information and public debate can entail a very real danger for those who engage in it on their own behalf.
Expressis Verbis is also a non-profit association under the law of 21 April 1928, whose objectives are:
- the defense and promotion of the right to information of citizens and the media; and the obligation to inform on the part of all administrations and national and international authorities;
- the defense and promotion of the freedom of the media and of persons publishing information, ideas or opinions;
- the monitoring, tracking and evaluation of published information of general interest in a pluralistic democratic society;
- the publication and dissemination of information and ideas with due respect for freedom of opinion and expression;
- the promotion, organization and publication of free debate and discussion, respecting the views of others, on social, political, economic, scientific, legal, psychological, and ethical issues;
- the promotion of transparency in the decision-making processes of national executive bodies and supranational bodies developing international rules;
- the identification, analysis and evaluation of the encroachment of economic, legal (judicialisation) and political power on citizens’ lives and daily communication;
- the analysis of the emerging phenomena of authoritarianism.
Today, we are concerned to witness the growing divide and inequalities that separates our society. Fear, mistrust of our fellow human beings, denunciation, defamation, isolation, and authoritarianism seem to have become part of a new normal.
Our growing think tank is composed of doctors, lawyers, mathematicians, statisticians, economists, psychologists, philosophers and entrepreneurs.
But we are also citizens and voters, we are parents, grandparents, children, and we take a human look at our life in society and at the problems and developments that concern us.
We look forward to your constructive participation in this movement, through your questions and/or your personal collaboration.
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from left to right: Nathalie Meier, Pierre Obertin, Claude Pauly, Dr. Benoît Ochs, Peggy Schoujean-Hurst