Geoffroy Lejeune Assumes JDD Office Amid Journalists’ Strike

Geoffroy Lejeune, ex-Valeurs Actuelles, takes up his post as editorial director at the JDD this Tuesday, August 1, 2023, while journalists have been on strike against his arrival since June 22, preventing the publication of the JDD six Sundays in a row.

After six Sundays without publication of the Journal du Dimanche, the former director of the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles Geoffroy Lejeune takes over as editor of the JDD on Tuesday. Journalists have been on strike since June 22 against the arrival of this far-right media personality. Support for Eric Zemmour in the presidential election, Geoffroy Lejeune, 34, succeeds Jérôme Béglé, expected for his part on Tuesday at the head of Paris Match.

The editorial staff refuses to be directed by Geoffroy Lejeune, “whose values are in total contradiction with those of the JDD”, and asks the Lagardère group to “offer journalists guarantees of legal and editorial independence”. Since the end of June, the strike has been systematically renewed almost unanimously.
The editorial staff must decide again on Tuesday on the continuation of the movement, unprecedented in the history of the newspaper and which, by its length, notably exceeds the historic strikes of i-Télé in 2016 (31 days) and Radio France in 2015. (27 days), according to a report by Reporters Without Borders.

Negotiations failed

Even if Arnaud Lagardère, the boss of the group, denies it, many observers see in this appointment the hand of billionaire Vincent Bolloré, with opinions deemed ultra-conservative. Vivendi, Vincent Bolloré’s group, is indeed in the process of absorbing Lagardère, owner of JDD, Paris Match and Europe 1, after a successful takeover bid. Previous strikes against the businessman’s alleged interference with i-Télé (now CNews, owned by Vivendi) in 2016 and Europe 1 in 2021 resulted in mass departures.

So far the JDD strikers have not found an agreement with the group’s management. According to journalists from the weekly interviewed by AFP, the negotiations stumbled both on the social conditions in the event of the departure of the journalists and on the editorial aspect, the management having refused to include in a charter of ethics the ban on “any publication of racist, sexist and homophobic remarks”. The editorial staff calls for this registration, while Valeurs Actuelles was sentenced, under the direction of Geoffroy Lejeune, to a suspended fine of 1,000 euros for public insult of a racist nature towards the LFI deputy Danièle Obono.

On Friday, more than twenty journalists from the weekly gathered near the Ministry of Culture, where a delegation was received by the cabinet of Rima Abdul Malak. The strikers called on the minister to support recent parliamentary initiatives aimed at protecting the independence of editorial staff and ensuring that the Estates General of Information announced for September by the Elysée “is not an empty shell”.

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