France was home to one of the world s first periodicals, La Gazette, founded by Théophraste Renaudot in 1631. France was also home to the first news agency founded by Charles Louis Havas in 1835 and the first mass circulation paper, Le Petit Journal, founded by Moïse Millaud in 1863. In France, the media are also more closely involved in political history than in other countries, with the emergence of hundreds of daily newspapers in Paris during the French Revolution. The Parisian papers published calls for insurrection in the days before the July Revolution of 1830 and there were many interconnections between the careers of political leaders and leading journalists, from Georges Clemenceau to Jean Jaurès and Aristide Briand. Perhaps the original position that the State occupies in the French media is the result of this legacy. The government frequently drafts and updates media laws and regulations. It backs the printed press and Agence France Presse, along with non-profit radio stations. It is a shareholder in public radio and television stations and it has provided the impetus for the development of certain innovations, through such programmes as the National Telematics Plan (minitel) and the National Cable Plan in the nineteen-eighties. The French media have also played a central role in political, social and cultural debates, such as the discussion about freedom of speech by the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment, which led to the Freedom of the Press Act of 29 July 1881, or the move to counter brainwashing and censorship after the First World War, when the new National Journalists Union adopted the Charter of 1918, which was the first code of ethics for journalists. More recently, there has been a discussion on false reporting, following, for example, the events in Timisoara or the Gulf War and the responsibility of the media, particularly during the 2002 presidential election in France.

The government-controlled Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française was replaced in January 1975 by seven independent state-financed companies. A law of July 1982 allowed greater independence to production and programming organizations. Under deregulation, many private radio stations have been established. Of the three state-owned television channels, TF-1, the oldest and largest, was privatized in 1987; a fourth, private channel for paying subscribers was started in 1984. Contracts were awarded in 1987 to private consortiums for fifth and sixth channels. As of 1999 there were 41 AM and 800 FM radio stations (many of the FM stations were repeaters) and 310 TV stations. In 2000, there were 950 radios and 628 television sets per 1,000 people. The same year, there were about 304 personal computers for every 1,000 people, with 62 Internet service providers serving about 11.7 million users. Traditionally, the French press falls into two categories. The presse d'information, which newspapers with the largest circulation, emphasizes news; the presse d'opinion, usually of higher prestige in literary and political circles but of much lower daily circulation, presents views on political, economic, and literary matters. In 2002, there were over 100 dailies in the country. Some of the important regional papers rival the Parisian dailies in influence and circulation.

The French press comprises about 15,000 titles (newspapers and magazines together), with a total circulation per issue of about 140 million. Its approximately 135 daily newspapers print about 12 million copies a day, a figure that has not fluctuated significantly since the mid-1950s. In Paris, there are 11 French-language papers of general interest, 7 of them technically morning and 4 evening. The others are specialized journals 2 are devoted to horseracing, 2 are economic and financial publications, and 1 is a sporting paper. The combined print order of these papers approaches 5 million, but the actual sales are nearer 4 million. France-Soir is the circulation leader, with 1.3 million. It prints six daily editions around the clock, and its circulation is the highest in France 800,000 in the Paris region, 500,000 elsewhere. Le Monde is a serious quality paper, the most influential in France, read everywhere in Europe and considered one of the three or four "best" newspapers in the world. Its circulation is about 300,000. Of the other Parisian papers, the most noteworthy is Le Figaro, traditional organ of the conservative and liberal middle classes, with a circulation of 525,000 and a distinguished past. In the provinces, the most influential papers are La voix du Nord, in Lille; Le Progrès, of Lyon; and Ouest-France, of Rennes. These are regional papers; the Rennes paper has nearly 50 different editions. Of the 95 dailies in the provinces, almost all are morning papers. The following table lists the estimated average daily circulation in 2002 of the leading newspapers:

Name PARIS Le Parisien Le Figaro Le Monde International Herald Tribune France-Soir L'Humanit é La Croix PROVINCES Ouest-France (Rennes) La Voix du Nord (Lille) Sud-Ouest (Bordeaux) Le Progres (Lyon) Le Dauphiné Libéré (Grenoble) La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-Ouest (Tours) Nice-Matin (Nice) La Montagne (Clermont-Ferrand) La Dépêche du Midi (Toulouse) L'est Republicain (Heillecourt)

ORIENTATION CIRCULATION Rightist; mass-appeal Moderate conservative Independent; elite English-language 210,000 Mass-appeal Communist Catholic Mass-appeal Conservative Independent Mass-appeal Socialist 457,200 375,000 368,900 184,000 117,000 98,200 786,200 356,900 359,300 299,000 281,400 259,600 Radical independent Radical 243,800 232,500 218,200 215,000

It is not easy to separate the periodical field from the newspaper business in France because there are so many interlocking ownerships and because the line between some weekly newspapers and some of the magazines is not clear-cut. The leading magazine is Paris-Match, with a circulation of 1,360,000, a mass circulation magazine with gravure print and many pictures, tending toward scandal, sex, and sport. From a production standpoint, Réalités, a monthly luxury magazine of the arts, is one of the world's most beautiful magazines. Among the women's magazines, the fashion leader is Elle, with 740,000 circulation. France has about 800 periodicals offering political and general features, 500 others that present general news, 2,000 technical publications, 200 for children and young people, 600 agricultural journals, 1,500 devoted to education and pedagogy, and 2,000 devoted to the legal, political, economic, and social sciences. Leading them all is the monthly Catholic magazine, L'écho des françaises, with a circulation of 1,760,000. The French press, newspaper and periodical, is largely controlled by five groups. The largest is the Franpar-Hachette group, regarded as perhaps the most powerful publishing group in the world, and probably the largest as well.

French viewers prefer to be informed by their evening television newscasts, which are described as a religious gathering with the nickname "the great mass" ("la grande messe"). The daily news broadcasts at 8 pm on TF1 and France 2, the two most popular channels, attract more than 40 percent of the viewers every evening.

TF1 is a private French TV network, controlled by TF1 Group, which is majority owned by Bouygues. TF1's 35% average market share, achieved on the ménagères de moins de 50 ans audience segment (house-wives less than 50 years old) makes it the most popular domestic network. TF1 is the crown jewel of the TF1 Group of mass media companies, which also includes Eurosport, the largest European sports network. TF1 originally stood for Télévision Française 1 (French television 1) but the abbreviation is no more expanded today, especially since the 1987 privatization and since this would introduce a confusion with France Télévisions. TF1 is a free-to-air channel broadcasting 24 hours a day, on terrestrial, cable and satellite networks; covering 99,9% of the French territory. TF1 develops its programming around the major themes that appeal to the general public: information, TV-dramas, entertainment, sport , youth, movies, magazines and documentaries. Positioned as a living, exclusive and event driven television, TF1 continually fits its programming to the taste and behaviour of the viewers.

M6 is France s second most popular amongst viewers under 50, and carries a youthful and dynamic programming style which has proved so popular with viewers. M6's own-produced programs are performing particularly well, notably the new documentary and current affairs program E=M6 and the breakfast television program Morning Live. In addition to its terrestrial television channel, M6 also has substantial interests in branded merchandise, theme channels and new media.

Private groups TF1 and M6, rivals in television in light but combined in paying television around TPS decided to merge to become stronger against Vivendi Universal. Result of their union: channel TF6

CANAL+ has been confirmed to be the channel of the exclusive programs. In particular in its fields of predilection which are the cinema and the sport, but also fiction, the documentary ones and, of course, emissions of information and entertainment. Canal6 channels with 100% of movies, 5 sport channels who diffuse more then 8000 hours in live, 8 news channels, 5 channels for children, 11 channels dedicated to documentaries, debates, discoveries, and more than 400 foreign channels.

It offers to its clients a top quality family line up through 100 channels (among them the 6 quality digital network), radios and interactive portals.

AB sat belongs to the AB Groupe, one of the biggest distributors of diffused programs in France . In total, 19 channels are proposed to the subscribers of this bouquet, but also to those of TPS and CanalSatellite. The diffused channels are: AB1, AB Moteurs, Animaux, Chasse et Pêche, XXL, Musique Classique, Escales, La Chaîne Histoire, RFM TV, Mangas, Encyclopedia, Polar, Ciné Palace, Romance, Rire et Action.

France 2 is the second French channel and the first general channel of public utility with hertz diffusion. France 2 is a general channel which presents news as well as sporting events, documentaries and films of cinema. France 2 has the role to be, within the public utility, the large general quality channel offering a real alternative to the programs of the general commercial channels. Federator channel, it aims at gathering the whole of the public, without distinction of age, sex, social origin or convictions.

France 3 has been the favourite channel of the French since 5 years. It offers of programs close to the spectators, centred on the geographical, but also emotional and intellectual, proximity. Principal actors of this success, regional information, the most important magazines of the channel, like Des racines et des Aîles , Thalassa, and regional appointments.

France 4 is a national public channel. The channel focusses completely on spectacles and show and offers an original look on spectacle, sports, film and soap operas, and addresses mainly the 25-49 year olds.. The main objectives of this channel is to entertain, discover, interest, with a tagline of France4: the pleasure before all .

While profiting from the new contribution of the resources of a group and its capacities of action, it preserves all its editorial specificity. France 5, who started to distribute under the name of La Cinquième on December 13, 1994, occupies an original place in the French audio-visual landscape since its mission is to devote itself to the distribution of knowledge.

It is the first French multicultural channel. France Ô wants to be the renovated look on overseas for the spectators of metropolis and bring its multicultural dimension to the group France Televisions. Through a varied range of information and cultural programs, France Ô imposes itself as the channel of lovers of diversity searching for different horizons.

Private radios have only been authorized in France since 1982. As with television, the number of private radios increased dramatically since then. France's main nationwide radio stations are: RTL (8.4 million listeners), France-Inter (a public radio in the same form as NPR), Europe 1 (4.8 million) and Radio MonteCarlo (0.9 million), all of whom are both on AM and FM. Private stations are mainly financed through advertising whereas public station are financed by a licensing fee and sometimes by the state (ads on public stations are restricted to public-service ads). France's public radio system is grouped under the umbrella of a national radio organization called Radio France which manages a network of 53 radio stations; five are national, 39 are local and nine are the socalled "parallel" stations which broadcast round-the-clock news and public service messages (FIP)). The five national radio stations are France-Inter, France-Culture, France-Musique which broadcasts more than 1,000 concerts each year; Radio Bleue featuring French songs for the over-50 generation; and France Info, the first French and European non-stop news station. Radio France is also responsible for

Radio-France Internationale (RFI) (RFI) which is France's worlwide broadcasting system and RFO (RadioFrance Outre-mer) which broadcasts in the overseas departments, territories and localities.

Certain subjects are recurrent in the French press and represent some problems of the French society which are not being addressed adequately and/or on which the country is deeply divided; they include : 1. Corsica : discussions with leaders who are pro or against more autonomy, bombings by autonomists, etc 2. The privatization of major state-owned utilities : EDF (Electricité de France), France Telecom, GDF (Gaz de France), La Poste, etc 3. Immigration : how to limit it ? Often linked with serious problems in the poorest suburbs : crime, unemployment, problems in schools, controversy about the islamic veil, etc 4. Social Security : its increasing cost and how to control fraud and waste 5. How can France join Europe and still keep its traditions, its social system and remain different ? The reader or the TV-viewer is not shocked when the journalist expresses his/her own view (that is democracy...) instead of presenting only facts (thats is considered boring...). Nobody seems to be impressed by the classical concepts of distinguishing reporting and commenting : they are often considered sheer hypocrisy.... Most French journalists lean to the Left Wing. It is not prejudiced to observe that a large majority of French journalists and the editors of French TV (whether public or private) and of most newspapers lean very distinctly to the Left. Of course this is not the reason which explains why the general French mood is so negative and depressed but it could contribute to it.

In the early 1980s Sarkozy forged ties to people who would later prove to be useful. He was the mayor of the posh Parisian suburb of Neuilly and a young star in the conservative RPR party. Using his office to bring together businessmen and media moguls, he was "networking" before the term was coined. Sarkozy owns no media outlets himself, but some of his closest friends do: friends he is not afraid to call when he needs them. Friends who give him a direct or indirect power, like Berlusconi's, over France's media. In April, the magazine Télérama ran a picture of Sarkozy on its cover and the caption: "Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France Télévisions". The state-run TV company had long been subject to the president's interventions: among them, suppressing unwelcome publicity, and naming the directors. At the start of his five-year term in office, one of his advisers at the Elysée, the former journalist GeorgesMarc Benamou, suggested he envisaged at least a "co-directing of the TV channels with the Elysée". The president has often been accused of political interference in France's media, even before his election in 2007. In 2005, when he was interior minister, the editor of Paris Match was fired after running front-page pictures of Sarkozy's then wife Cécilia with her lover. It was said he was "absolutely furious" over the humiliation, and demanded the sacking of the editor-in-chief, Alain Genestar, by the magazine's owner, Arnaud Lagardère, whom he sees as a "brother". A few months later, when Cécilia returned briefly to her husband, he stopped the publication of a book about her written by a celebrity magazine journalist with Cécilia's cooperation. Just before his election in May 2007, an incandescent Sarkozy could not restrain himself after not being shown what he saw as appropriate

respect before an interview with France Télévisions. "Nobody was there to greet me. The whole direction needs sacking. I can't do it now, but just you wait. It'll happen soon enough," he raged. Since his election, Sarkozy has reportedly been involved in the hiring, firing and blocking of journalists on a number of occasions. The president's hand is also seen to be behind the prosecution of a French journalist now facing prison for using a leaked video of Sarkozy sounding off at a France Télévisions studio engineer for not saying "hello". The pressure is not always direct: Sarkozy's closest personal friends are the five biggest owners of the French press. Lagardère not only owns Paris Match, but also Elle, the Journal du Dimanche, Télé 7 Jours, Première magazine and France-Dimanche, as well as several news and radio stations and cable TV networks. Martin Bouygues, described as the president's "best friend", was a witness at his second marriage and is godfather to his youngest son, Louis. He owns France's most popular TV channel, TF1, as well as Eurosport and several other cable channels. The two men are said to speak daily. Another witness was Bernard Arnault, who runs the luxury group LVMH, which also owns the economic magazine La Tribune, Investir and Radio Classique. Serge Dassault is a client of the legal firm where Sarkozy was a partner, a great friend and owner of the group Socpresse, whose crown jewel is the rightwing daily newspaper Le Figaro. The band of loyal musketeers is completed by François Pinault, who owns the weekly news magazine Le Point. In spite of his urge to influence France's media, things do not always go Sarkozy's way. As soon as journalists at Le Monde heard he was opposed to one of the business groups vying to take over the title, they swung behind the bid. And amid a succession of scandals, the president woke up on Friday to find his friends were powerless to stop the attacks on his government. Admittedly much of the information had emerged from new media but Thomas Legrand, political commentator on France-Inter radio, said the traditional press had been stirred from its slumber: "There's a mechanical and healthy effect here. It shows that the more there are efforts to concentrate power and to control the written press and broadcasting, the more the press plays its role as an outside counterbalance."

Many of the estimated 37,000 French journalists see themselves more as intellectuals than as reporters. Instead of merely reporting events, they often try to analyze developments and influence readers with their own biases. At the same time, many political or economic journalists are educated at the same elite schools as the politicians they cover, including "Sciences Po" (Paris' Political Science Institute). They form a relatively small community with ties between government leaders and newsrooms, regularly denounced in essays and columns on French journalism. There are "strong interferences" between journalism and politics in France and "two thirds of the French" think that journalists are not independent; this is "a French more than Latin particularity," noted one of the best experts on the industry (France 24, 4 April 2008). As a consequence, many reporters do not necessarily regard their

primary role as being that of a watchdog or a counterweight to the political and economic powers in place. About one third of reporters have studied in one of the twelve officially recognized journalism schools, the most renowned being Lille's Advanced Journalism School (Ecole Superieure de Journalisme), based in the north of France, and Paris' Journalists Training Center (Centre de Formation des Journalistes). However, many do not pursue their career in this field after these two- or three-year studies, and they opt for a position in communications, to avoid the precariousness prevailing in most media. Several works have been published in recent years denouncing the bad economic conditions in which many journalists live, especially the freelancers. About one fourth of the 37,000 press card holders are identified as freelancers or jobless, for instance. Regional dailies usually fill their local pages thanks to village correspondents who are very poorly paid. As a consequence, most of these contributors are amateur reporters whose main income comes from another profession or from a pension earned from a former, non-media-related activity.

The laws of France guarantee freedom of speech and of the press. In theory, reporters have free access to official documents -- with some exceptions -- and they have the right not to disclose sources. US independent watchdog and advocacy group for democracy Freedom House gave France a rating of "free" in terms of political rights, civil liberties, and free press for the year 2006, the latest available rating. However, this liberty is somewhat constrained, mainly by France's restrictions on freedom of expression related to private information on politicians or related to extremist ideas. There is no equivalent of the US First Amendment in the French Constitution, and because of state regulation of the press, some newsrooms are searched by judges on a regular basis. President Jacques Chirac's government had even been planning a law obliging media outlets to keep records of all activities related to their website for a minimum of three years and make them accessible to the police upon demand (Liberation , 25 April 2007). His successor Nicolas Sarkozy's government introduced a bill recognizing the right of journalists to protect sources while stating they may have to disclose names in special cases. This text has been widely criticized for "undermining the right to confidentiality," as these special cases are not clearly defined (AFP, 16 May 2008; Le Monde , 17 May 2008). In addition, French journalists have traditionally been reluctant to report stories harmful to key politicians for fear of losing access to government sources. The executive branch is able to influence the media by such means as direct and indirect subsidies, allocation of the advertising budgets of stateowned companies, and cronyism in the banking sector or in the conglomerates which have invested in the press. When President Nicolas Sarkozy did his first interview on 20 June 2007, aired by TF1, the private channel's top anchor presented the evening newscast from the Elysee Palace. Media observers saw this as an illustration of French journalism's submission to political power. But the same commentators were less negative when Sarkozy announced in a radio interview that his government would be directly involved in helping the printed press to recover from its structural crisis (RTL, 27 May 2008). A particularity of France is that many important media are also controlled by groups which are prominent in businesses such as arms manufacturing, aerospace, luxury goods, construction, transport, and retail. This creates a self-censorship culture in newsrooms, as they cannot avoid covering these industries. As a consequence, some major issues are often hidden or postponed for publication until they appear on blogs and websites, or in arguably independent outlets like satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine . This concentration of media ownership, which reduces editorial pluralism, has been

increasingly threatening the independence of journalists. Construction and mobile phone conglomerate Bouygues controls TF1. Former defense group Lagardere, which still holds a strategic stake in the EADS [European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company] group, is now mostly present in the book publishing, distribution, press, and audiovisual sectors. It controls a third of the magazine market and mainstream radio Europe 1, and was until recently the owner of major regional dailies from Nice to Marseille. Military aircraft and software group Dassault and retail and luxury groups Pinault and LVMH, among others, also own influential media like daily Le Figaro or weekly Le Point . Much of the rest is controlled by large pan-European media companies like Italy's Mondadori (controlled by current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) and Germany's conglomerate Bertelsmann. Investigative journalism was still a relatively new phenomenon in the last decade in France. It continues to be portrayed negatively in many public debates, as it is often identified with gossip journalism because of a confusion created by so-called investigative journalists who work more as intermediaries for their sources than as initiators of their journalistic research. The political gossip and satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine , for instance, usually presented as an icon of French investigative journalism, is ideologically tied to the left, and has ignored major scandals involving some of its friends and sympathizers. In addition, though it is well written, " Le Canard " is far from being a model of rigor and long term, deep journalistic research. Nevertheless, mainstream French papers like dailies Le Monde , Liberation and Le Figaro or weeklies L'Express , Le Nouvel Observateur or Le Point , have several times uncovered scandals in recent years, not only waiting for them to be broken in Le Canard Enchaine or by news blogs and websites.

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