NewsWorldBolloré, Arnault, Niel… The Senate hears media billionaires -...

Bolloré, Arnault, Niel… The Senate hears media billionaires – Le Monde

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Less than a hundred days before the presidential election, the major maneuvers in the world of the media are worrying. TF1 and M6 dream of merging. And, soon, Vivendi, which is controlled by Vincent Bolloré, will add to Canal+, C8, CNews and its publishing group Editis the jewels of Lagardère : Hachette, Europe 1, Paris Match and The Sunday newspaper (JDD).

Read our survey: Article reserved for our subscribers How Vincent Bolloré mobilizes his media empire to influence the presidential election

Thirty-six years after the 1986 law which liberalized the communication sector, will the landscape lead to the emergence of private oligopolies? How, under these conditions, to preserve the pluralism of information and audiovisual creation? These are the questions that led the Senate, under the leadership of David Assouline (Socialist Party, PS) and Laurent Lafon (Centrist Union), to open an investigation on November 24, 2021. “My goal is to put an end to this opaque subject. We are presented with a fait accompli and it takes place quietly. It is democracy and freedom of expression that are at stake, justifies its rapporteur, the socialist senator. A press company cannot be considered as a simple industrial object. »

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers 250 press, television and radio professionals warn: “The hyperconcentration of the media is a media, social and democratic scourge”

After having heard from many personalities such as Roch-Olivier Maistre, the president of Arcom (ex-CSA), the editorial director of BFM-TV, Céline Pigalle, or the boss of Crédit Mutuel (owner of local newspapers) , Nicolas Théry, the senators, who will continue to receive guests, including Delphine Ernotte (France Télévisions), Edwy Plenel (Mediapart) or Matthieu Pigasse (co-shareholder of World), audition from Wednesday January 19 the main interested parties.

“The importance of pluralism”

The most anticipated guest, Vincent Bolloré opens the ball of festivities. Very secretive, the Breton businessman, who flees journalists, had no choice but to respond to the invitation. He will have to take an oath, and any lie will be criminally reprehensible. The senators will not fail to question him on his interactions with the editorial staff. A month before his retirement, does the billionaire, who put Eric Zemmour into orbit by offering him an hour of airtime every evening on CNews for two years, have a political project?

Read our story: Article reserved for our subscribers A week of watching only CNews: contempt for the left, criticism of the executive, sympathy for Eric Zemmour

Is he already pulling the strings of Europe 1, of JDD or of Paris Match, as recent editorial changes suggest? Many CNews figures have indeed been named in the Lagardère media. Passed to the grid of questions on December 10, 2021, the director of information of CNews, Thomas Bauder, obviously denied any interference.

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