Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic in France


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Risks to media pluralism are examined in four main thematic areas, which represent the main areas of risk for media pluralism and media freedom: Basic Protection, Market Plurality, Political Independence and Social Inclusiveness. The results are based on the assessment of 20 indicators — five per each thematic area:. Universal reach of traditional media and access to the Internet Media viability. Independence of PSM governance and funding Media literacy.

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Disclaimer : The content of the report does not necessarily reflect the views of the CMPF or the EC, but represents the views of the national country team that carried out the data collection and authored the report. With more than However, France does not recognize minorities based on characteristics of race, ethnic features, skin colour, origin, religion, way of life or sex, which are considered discriminatory criteria by law. Minorities are not recognized as holders of collective rights, but the heterogeneity of French society is important and recognized by law under the concept of diversity.

Since January France has been the target of terrorist attacks that led to the adoption of controversial provisions in order to fight terrorism. The state of emergency adopted after the shootings in Paris on 13 November , and its successive extensions, have encouraged debate on civil liberties as the authorities gain greater powers over freedom of expression. France constitutes one of the most powerful audiovisual industries in the world.

Besides national TV, 41 local channels are present in the metropolitan area and 26 public and private channels operate in the overseas departments and territories. By 1 January the number of national television services with a regulatory agreement, or benefiting from the reporting system, was Some trends in television consumption are the decrease in the audience share of traditional channels and the emergence of the new HD, free-to-air DTT channels launched in December The video-on-demand market has experienced important growth recently as has interactivity with audiences via social media and multi-screen consumption.

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French print media, on the other hand, has experienced more difficulties because of the impossibility to compensate for the decline in its consumption. Online news readership is growing, especially on mobile, but not its monetization, due in part to the practice of ad-blocking Newman et al. A general overview of the analysis on media pluralism for France indicates a low to medium risk level for the four main areas examined: Basic Protection, Market Plurality, Political Independence and Social Inclusiveness.

Among these four areas, Basic Protection shows very few risks. Freedom of expression, protection of the right to information, standards and protection of the journalistic profession and the independence of national authorities are guaranteed by law in France. This is enforced by consistent and complex legal devices and a network of actors working on compliance with the law.

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However, several policies approved from to date within the frame of the fight against terrorism have allowed surveillance of the Internet and telephone communications to political powers, which is considered to imply restrictions to certain rights. Ministers argue that additional powers are necessary to keep the French people safe.

The state of emergency adopted in November has been extended several times and remains in force. Concerning Market Plurality, more visible risks have to do with the horizontal concentration of media ownership for a medium risk level; indicators of Transparency of media ownership, Media viability and Concentration of cross-media ownership, within the same area, maintain a low risk level.


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In terms of Political Independence, most of the risks are related to editorial autonomy medium level. Several regulatory safeguards aim to guarantee independence of journalists and editors-in-chief but they are difficult to implement in practice.

More monitor and sanctioning mechanisms are needed. Independence of PSM governance is guaranteed and presents a very low risk level, as well as State support to media sector. Social Inclusiveness shows a low risk level for most of the indicators. Media literacy policy and activities are well developed and many actors work on the development of this area.

However, the scope of actions of the broadcasters is based on voluntary commitments, which makes difficult the tasks of ensuring representation by the Conseil. The Basic Protection indicators represent the regulatory backbone of the media sector in every contemporary democracy. They measure a number of potential areas of risk, including the existence and effectiveness of the implementation of regulatory safeguards for freedom of expression and the right to information; the status of journalists in each country, including their protection and ability to work; the independence and effectiveness of the national regulatory bodies that have competence to regulate the media sector; and the reach of traditional media and access to the Internet.

In France the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens of recognises the right of freedom of expression as a fundamental right. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for abuses of this freedom as defined by law Article However, France has come to a juncture as a result of the terrorist attacks in and that has led to the adoption of some provisions restricting these freedoms. Several measures taken under the state of emergency following the terrorist attacks in Paris are likely to require derogation from certain rights guaranteed by the European Convention on human rights.

The state of emergency considers the possibility of blocking websites by order of the State. The Intelligence Act, adopted in , also allows authorities to monitor international communications without judicial approval. With the adoption of Law No. In more than 1, applications for withdrawal and delisting were submitted and sites were blocked.

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Risks associated with the right to information scores low as this right is protected by the constitution, national laws and by appeal mechanisms. But in practice, it seems difficult to guarantee the protection of journalists against pressures, censorship and violence. Despite the fact that associations list several actions undertaken to ensure independence, major complaints on their effectiveness can be found. The worst incident took place in January when two attackers burst into the weekly meeting of Charlie Hebdo and unleashed fatal gunfire on eight journalists.

In the number of media workers targeted by police rose within the framework of demonstrations against new labour legislation. Protection of journalistic sources is explicitly recognized by the law, but in practice, some violations have taken place. Particularly, under the Intelligence Act, emails and messages exchanged by a journalist and the source are susceptible to being intercepted if the latter is signalled in the fight against terrorism.

Intelligence services can obtain and preserve for five years the browsing history of any journalist.

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The CSA is composed of a college of seven members: three are appointed by the National Assembly, three by the Senate and one the president of the Conseil by the President of the Republic. CSA commissioners are appointed in accordance with the opinion of the commission for cultural affairs acting by a majority of three-fifths of the votes cast. The law states that the appointments must contribute to parity between men and women and are based on competencies or professional experience within the audio-visual sector. The decisions of the CSA do not show any evidence of commercial dependence.

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However, the conditions for the nomination of the members of the CSA allow links to political power that may affect its character as an independent body. It anticipates possible violations of the principles of net neutrality. This is based on regular exercises of monitoring, such as Observatories of the quality of mobile services, the quality of access to internet service, questionnaires to electronic communications operators on traffic management, and access and data collection on IP-based interconnection. The Market Plurality indicators examine the existence and effectiveness of the implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership.

In addition, they assess the existence and effectiveness of regulatory safeguards to prevent horizontal and cross-media concentration of ownership and the role of competition enforcement and State aid control in protecting media pluralism. Moreover, they seek to evaluate the viability of the media market under examination as well as whether and if so, to what extent commercial forces, including media owners and advertisers, influence editorial decision-making.

In fact, a well-developed policy has not avoided a concentration in the growth of horizontal and cross-media. Transparency on media ownership is guaranteed by Law No. Moreover, authorizations for the use of frequencies for audio-visual services, provided by the CSA, are conditioned by the information on the owner of the service requesting it Article 29 of the Law on the Freedom of Communication.

These provisions are implemented in practice, with several mechanisms monitoring compliance with the law. Operations concerning concentration transactions with respect to the audiovisual market are controlled by the CSA to guarantee pluralism and diversity through the power of attributing licenses. This is provided by the Law on the Freedom of Communication. However, some academic and non-governmental associations criticize that mechanisms to avoid cross-media concentration are old and not suitable to the current media landscape.

Regarding newspaper publishing, there is no equivalent to the CSA but the principle of freedom of the press and financial assistance to press companies by the State would guarantee the expression of pluralism of opinions. But as any other society, newspaper companies and groups are subject to the provisions established by the Code of Commerce and EU regulations, so the Ministry of Economy and Finance, through the Competition Authority, must secure transparency in concentration transactions.

Regarding the independence of journalists, the Labour Code states two protections to French journalists that allow the latter to leave without prior notice and with rights to compensation when there is a substantial change in the character or editorial policy of its company clause de conscience and when there is a change of ownership clause de cession. Media owners and other commercial entities generally abstain from influencing editorial content. However, the phenomena of concentration and industrialization of the sector tend to lead to an increasing risk in this matter.

There have been some incidents considered as censorship derived from commercial influence in Canal. The Political Independence indicators assess the existence and effectiveness of regulatory safeguards against political bias and political control over the media outlets, news agencies and distribution networks.

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They are also concerned with the existence and effectiveness of self-regulation in ensuring editorial independence. The Footprint Conference is an event organised by Durham students. Now in its second year, it aims to involve all members of the Durham community; students, staff and local residents alike, in open discussion and debate around climate change and environmental issues. In this blog Jess, one of the organisers tells us more about the conference and asks you to get involved in Footprint Find out more.

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