EFJ “Shocked” by President Sarkozy’s Comments about French Media Bias

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists, today protested against the shocking comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy accusing the media of bias.

"As a candidate, Mr. Sarkozy assured us that he believed the media are a key element of democratic life, but he seems to have forgotten these principles as a President and he doesn't hesitate to cry "censorship" when media do not report the news to his liking. We are outraged by his behavior," said EFJ Chair Arne König.

On 6 May, Sarkozy said media outlets including Agence France-Presse (AFP), le Parisien and l'Express, were biased because they did not report enough on a verdict by the Court of Rennes finding Segolene Royal, Sarkozy's opponent in last years' election, guilty of improperly paying her assistants. The following day, Sarkozy's ruling party UMP accused AFP of "censorship" because it did not circulate all of UMP's press releases.

AFP, like all other media, is not obligated to report all information from the President or the ruling party, said the EFJ.

The EFJ pointed out that Royal herself accused AFP of being biased last year, which shows that it is independent from both parties and not systematically reporting news in a way that is more supportive of one party than to the other.

"We see that the financing of public broadcasting is at risk, the discussions on the draft law on protection of sources are suspended and now President Sarkozy and his party accuse media of being biased. This is a shocking way to defend press freedom in France, one year after the presidential elections," said König.

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 22 15
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries in Europe