Bolloré’s Involvement With Far-Right: Government’s Dilemma

Faced with the rise to power in the media of Vincent Bolloré, who denies any “political” project making the bed of the far right, the government is divided on the response to be given, oscillating between condemnation and “embarrassment”.

What is Vincent Bolloré looking for in weaving his media web? “Our interest is not political, it is not ideological, it is a purely economic interest”, answered before the Senate on January 19, 2022 the French industrialist.

Admittedly, Vincent Bolloré never displayed personal political ambition like the Italian media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, who became President of the Council.

But “all entrepreneurs who embark on the construction of a media empire have something other than a project of economic profitability. Because the media are not profitable”, estimates political scientist Jean-Yves Camus, specialist in the extreme right. .

As far as Vincent Bolloré is concerned, it is a “metapolitical” project, he explains, which consists in “thinking that the dissemination of ideas is the prerequisite for the conquest of power”. And this diffusion goes through the media.

By reaping the fruits of the election candidates sharing his “ideological representation”, in a spectrum that goes from the right LR to Eric Zemmour, via Marine Le Pen.

Caution

Faced with this project, the government has so far remained very cautious or even divided on a possible response.

And for good reason: “it is not up to the State today to interfere in the choice of a drafting of the private domain”, recalled the spokesman of the government Olivier Véran before the National Assembly on June 27.

Moreover, in the name of media pluralism, “the opinion press is legal in France”, he insisted.

The editorial staff of the JDD, which should soon join the Bolloré galaxy and has been on strike for several weeks against the appointment of Geoffroy Lejeune, a journalist marked on the far right, on Saturday called on Emmanuel Macron to “seize as soon as possible” questions of independence of the press, in a letter published by Ouest-France.

By pinning on this occasion “the discretion” of the executive which “seems to endorse this new blow to the independence of the media”.

The Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak has certainly engaged with parliamentarians “a reflection” to change the Bloche law of 2016 which aims to strengthen the independence of the media, according to Mr. Véran. The States General of Information will also be able to question the way of “protecting the editorial boards from the influence of external shareholders”.

But the spokesman admits that at this stage, the only question that arises is whether Mr. Bolloré takes “note of the will or not of the employees” of the JDD.

Ndiaye raises his voice

The Minister of National Education Pap Ndiaye clearly displayed his support on Sunday for the “mobilization of JDD personnel” by attacking Vincent Bolloré, a “character clearly very close to the most radical extreme right” and to its CNews channel, which has become “clearly far-right”, just like Europe 1 radio.

Words that have sparked controversy even in the ranks of Macronists.

“If I thought that Europe 1 was a far-right radio, I would not have come to your antenna this morning”, thus stood out Tuesday the Minister of the Public Service Stanislas Guerini.

The LR party and RN elected officials gave their support to CNews, when PS Senator David Assouline, who had heard Mr. Bolloré, and several members of the left wing of the macronie, welcomed Pap Ndiaye’s remarks

The sociologist Jean-Marie Charron detects in this cacophony “the embarrassment” of a government which does not have “a lot of leeway” legal.

“The Freedom of the Press Act of 1881 is extremely clear, it says that the owner is the editor, and as such he has control over the editorial direction. The editor or editor writing, legally it does not exist”, he underlines.

Conceived at a time when there were many opinion journals, it aims to “leave publishers total independence in terms of content”. So much so that this media specialist “does not see at all how politics can interfere”.

This article is originally published on arabnews.fr

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