By Sudouest.fr with AFP
The channel of billionaire Vincent Bolloré provokes the debate by devoting most of its August 15 antenna to Catholic content, then by broadcasting an American anti-abortion film on Monday evening.
The C8 channel, of billionaire Vincent Bolloré, provokes the debate by devoting most of its antenna this Sunday, August 15, the day of the Christian feast of the Assumption, to Catholic content then by broadcasting an American anti-American film on Monday evening. -abortion.
With more than 12 straight hours of Catholic programs, C8 innovates, marking a first for a private generalist channel in France and with the exception of the Catholic channel KTO.
In opening and live, a mass celebrated from the sanctuary of Cotignac, in the Var, by Mgr Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus Toulon. A conservative figure in the episcopate, the prelate caused a stir in the Christian ranks in 2015 by inviting Marion Maréchal to a Catholic summer university.
After this celebration, the mini-series “John Paul II”, the films “Mother Teresa” and “Saint Philippe Néri” will follow one after the other until the end of the evening. The next day, the channel will broadcast in prime time “Unplanned”, an American fiction relating the turnaround of a former family planning executive who became an anti-abortion activist.
Produced by an evangelical Christian studio, the fiction had unexpected success when it was released in the United States in the spring of 2019 but also aroused strong criticism for its veracity, particularly of an abortion scene showing a struggling fetus.
“It is a political choice to program this film contrary to the right to abortion, in a context where women have very little information on abortion issues and where anti-choice are very present on the networks. social “, protests Sarah Durocher, co-president of the family planning association network.
The film “is quite terrifying on the guilt of women, on abortion”, which he describes as a juicy “business” for American family planning, explains the feminist activist. It is “manipulative” and “has nothing to do” with the functioning of associations in France which “daily denounce difficulties in accessing abortion”.
Outrage materialized on the canvas by upetition, launched by the founder of the site “Grossesse imprévue”, which has collected more than 15,000 signatures. She asks the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) to oblige C8 to establish “a contextualization of this program”, recalling in particular “that the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) is anchored in French law” .
Radio silence at C8
The audiovisual regulator recalled on Twitter that “the channels freely determine the choice of their programs” and that as such “he does not intervene in the programming of the channels”. “After broadcasting, it is possible to alert the CSA about a possible breach of the law or of an obligation,” he adds.
Faced with the controversy and questions about a possible Catholic turn of C8, the management of the channel remains unreachable.
Vincent Bolloré’s Canal + group, an assertive practicing Catholic, is not at its first attempt in terms of Catholic content. Since May 2020, its CNews news channel has been offering the Sunday program “In Search of the Spirit” which addresses current events from a religious and philosophical point of view. It is presented by Aymeric Pourbaix, former head of “Christian Family” and publication director of the weekly “France Catholique”, bought by the Bolloré group in 2018.
And this August 15, CNews, which had already broadcast the Holy Thursday Mass on April 1, live from Notre-Dame-de-Paris, will also be in tune with C8 with the live broadcast of the August 15 mass celebrated in Lourdes.
“It is probably a signal sent to a more practicing current”, more linked to “conservative Catholicism, which until now has never found its outlet neither political nor cultural”, analyzes the director of editorial development within from the Bayard group, Jean-Pierre Denis. It is distinguished from “identity Christianity”, “another current, sometimes cultivated” by CNews – in particular by his star polemicist Éric Zemmour, slayer of the Church of Pope Francis.
Can C8 and CNews make the junction between these currents? “Television may have the capacity to create outlets for those who, until now, were not found,” he wonders. One certainty: “to bet on the media buzz around Catholicism” during a low audience period is “rather clever”. “It is to use Catholicism and the controversy on social networks for a formidable publicity operation”.
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