Journalists from France 24 and RFI protest after Macron’s statements on “France’s influence strategy”, especially in Africa – franceinfo

Journalists from the public media France 24 and RFI protested on Friday September 2, 2022 after Emmanuel Macron’s comments on France’s international influence, which they said equated them with state “spokespeople”. The day before, before the French ambassadors gathered at the Elysée, the President of the Republic called for “assuming a strategy of influence and influence for France”. “The world has changed (…) and our country is often attacked. It is attacked in public opinion by social networks and manipulations. The African continent is the best laboratory for this”, declared Emmanuel Macron. In his speech which pointed to “the narrative, Russian, Chinese or Turkish” in Africa, Emmanuel Macron urged “better use of the France Media World network, which is absolutely key, which must be a strength for us”. The France Médias Monde (FMM) group brings together France 24 (in French, English, Arabic and Spanish), RFI (in French and 15 other languages) and Monte Carlo Doualiya, a radio station in Arabic. “France 24, media of the FMM group is in no way the official voice of France”, replied the Society of Journalists (SDJ) of the continuous information television channel, in a press release published on social networks. “It is a public service media, not a government media. It is not, either, an operator of the diplomacy of influence”, insisted the SDJ of France 24. In a separate press release, that of Radio France International (RFI), which also belongs to France Médias Monde and is widely listened to in Africa, insisted that this group “is not the mouthpiece of the Elysée”. “Our journalists are in no way and will never be a tool at the service of your communication and your policy”, we can still read. “We will never give up an ounce of our independence”, continues RFI’s SDJ, according to which “these sentences cast suspicion and discredit on the work of (its) correspondents”. No, Mr. Macron, FMM is not the spokesperson for the Élysée. We will never give up an ounce of our independence. — SDJ de RFI (@sdjrfi) September 2, 2022 This controversy comes in the wake of the abolition of the fee which finances public broadcasting, voted in August after a promise by Emmanuel Macron during the presidential campaign. Opponents of the abolition of the fee fear that public broadcasting will lose its independence by being subject to budgetary vagaries decided by the State, instead of a dedicated mode of financing. Before discussing the role of the France Medias Monde network, President Macron had already challenged diplomats on the “defensive” aspect of this strategy of influence. “I think that collectively, we must be much more reactive, much more mobilized on social networks, work with allies, partners of France in public opinion. Not simply to counteract this false information, of course, but to be able to stop it. in a very clear way, as quickly as possible and to promote the value of our own actions”, said Emmanuel Macron. Like the public service, it is also time for reform for the French ambassadors who have engaged in an unprecedented protest movement to mark their opposition to the project of the President of the Republic.