Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New French News Channel Goes Global

France has long desired to recapture it's past glory and become a major world power once again. In an effort to increase it's influence in world affairs, the French government has just launched a new news channel, targeted at a global audience: "France 24". It's also meant to challenge and even oppose news coverage from the English speaking world.

From Luc Van Braekel at the Brussels Journal blog:

France 24: Opposing the Anglo-Saxons With American Technology Some excerpts:

[...] France 24 is the new state-funded news channel that is to bring "the French viewpoint" to the world and intends to challenge CNN and BBC World. The website will be trilingual from the start, in English, French and Arabic. On television there will be two parallel channels, one in English and one in French. Arabic and Spanish broadcasts are planned for the future. The new station is the brainchild of French president Jacques Chirac. Frustrated by the dominance of CNN and other "Anglo-Saxon" media on matters that influence world opinion, Chirac announced his plans during his election campaign of 2002. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Luc was invited, with 11 other bloggers, to visit France 24's spiffy new offices and studios:

The news channel will harness the power of the internet, interacting with the blogosphere and utilizing video sharing services, as well as more traditional broadcasting venues. Luc maintains that it's technical infrastructure is American; he did a video report on the technical aspects, noting the American equipment and software vendors. He also made some other interesting observations:

[...] the French government is probably hoping to gain the most from the leverage of its new channel in Africa and the Middle East, where France has historic and strategic ties. [...]

This isn't suprising. In a previous post I talked about France's deliberate "Eurabia" policy, using it's ties to those regions to strengthen it's position with the Muslim world. With oil-rich allies, France hopes to lead Europe and become a power to be reckoned with.

But to build strong alliances in the Muslim world, would France choose to actively oppose the English speaking world? Is "France 24" a step in that direction? Consider this:

[...] France 24 wants "to show opinion leaders worldwide what they are not supposed to see, know or understand about all aspects of international news". This animated promo video shows sheds some light on what this may mean. French politics have always sympathized with the antiglobalist movement (or altermondialistes, as they are called in France) which they see as an ally against the dominance of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and as a support for their rather Colbertist views on trade and competition. [...]

France is a Socialist country with strong anti-capitalist sentiments, and opposes the U.S. on many levels. Their world view is strongly influenced by counter-enlightenment ideology, which directly opposes many of our own values.

France can of course do whatever they like in persuit of their own interests. But you have to wonder if their "Eurabia Policy" will unfold for them in the way they think it will.

The photos here are taken by Luc, he has more in his article (And even more via a link to his page on The article isn't long and it's worth reading the whole thing.

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