EFJ Encourages French Debate Over Public Broadcasting in the Constitution

The French Minister for Culture, Jean Jacques Aillagon had requested Catherine Clément, a French writer, to carry out a mission on culture and public television. The report issued by Catherine Clément calls for the introduction in the French constitution of a special provision on audiovisual public service. Indeed, she proposes that the future text should state "the organisation of audiovisual public service is a duty for the State".

Catherine Clément calls for the maintenance of public service as a whole, opposing any privatisation of French public channels. She bases her thoughts on a need for cultural quality that should be introduced in French public channels. The report ends by asking the French President Jacques Chirac to grant sufficient funds to the Ministry for Culture.

"Constitutional provisions that guarantee pluralism, editorial independence and the public interests in media services are welcome", says Aidan White, General Secretary for the EFJ, "but it is important to ensure the separation of editorial control of public media and the exercise of political power. That is why public service broadcasting along the lines of the European model is the best for giving a service that meets public interest before private and political interests".

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