Geoffroy Lejeune: Media Independence Protector

For the rapporteur of the Commission of Inquiry into Concentration in the Media, this appointment is “a provocation” and above all a “danger” for democracy.

The appointment of Geoffroy Lejeune at the head of the JDD “is really a provocation and it is the brutal method that characterizes Vincent Bolloré”, criticized socialist senator David Assouline on Tuesday August 1 on franceinfo while the journalist labeled far-right officially takes office. The rapporteur of the Commission of Inquiry into Concentration in the Media believes that the State must be “a protector” of the independence of the media. Geoffroy Lejeune supported Éric Zemmour during the 2022 presidential campaign. And the editorial staff of the Sunday Journal fears losing its editorial independence.

>> “We don’t want to hang up”: at the “JDD”, the mobilization of the editorial staff remains intact despite a lasting strike and the announced arrival of Geoffroy Lejeune

franceinfo: How do you see the arrival of Geoffroy Lejeune?

It is a provocation, if only for questions of management, human resources. How to impose on an editorial staff, which for more than a month reiterated its refusal to see him arrive, who was at the head of a far-right newspaper which landed him not long ago because he was deemed too far-right for this far-right newspaper. So it’s really a provocation and it’s the brutal method that characterizes Vincent Bolloré.

How does Vincent Bolloré justify his desire to create a media empire?

He says that it is an economic will to be able to resist the big foreign companies, in particular the Gafam, but it is a complete lie. We can clearly see that he is building an ideological empire and that he has been inhabited for some time by the idea that France should be saved from losing its identity. It feels a civilizational mission. He is building an empire and that is what is very dangerous in the field of the written press, radio, television, but also in the field of book publishing. Having a man with such extreme right ideological will becomes a danger that should wake up all democrats in this country.

Is the government’s lack of reaction a problem?

Yes, the government can act. He hides behind the fact that it is in the realm of private enterprise and in the realm of the press, but in reality the state is a regulator and a protector of the application of the law on freedom of the press. It must regulate, guarantee this constitutional right to the independence of the media. It is absolutely necessary that the editorial staff validate the proposal of the editorial director’s shareholder. This bill, which is very simple, the government can write and make such a situation possible in the coming days. This would respond to what the journalists of the JDD are asking for and will prevent what can happen to all the press. I admire the fight of the journalists of the JDD, which is historic, it is the longest in a press company and it is a fight for all the journalists and the independence of the editorial staff.

If the industrialists withdraw, who will finance the private media?

This is often their argument. They say that they do not intervene in the newsrooms, but that they would leave and that they would no longer invest if they were prohibited from intervening.

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