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France media concentration in hands of prominent businessmen

Chris Den Hond
Press TV, Paris

In France, prominent businessmen are buying important media groups, leading to a concentration of the main media outlets in the hands of a few persons.

Europe 1, Canal+, BFM, Les Echos, TF1, etc., all these radio stations, newspapers and especially television networks are becoming the property of a few businessmen in France.

The most recent event is radio Europe 1 coming under the ownership of Vincent Bolloré, who already owns the group Canal+.

The Bolloré group has activities in telecommunications, logistics and electric cars. In the former French colonies in West Africa, Bolloré controls 16 marine ports and many railways.

The process of concentration of media groups is universal, but in France, journalists' associations fear that the Bolloré ownership of more and more media outlets will directly lead to more far-right racism and islamophobia on the screens. CNews for instance and their main political commentator, Eric Zemmour, have both been condemned for inciting hatred. Among many anti-Muslim comments, Zemmour said on TV, "Migrant children are thieves, killers and rapists who have to be sent back." With the current concentration of media, journalists fear their work could become more and more censored.

Laws voted in parliament and senate allow measures against media monopolies and in favor of the diversity of opinions. But that's theory. In reality, media groups need money from advertising, so journalists will think twice before writing articles against their sponsors. The newspaper Le Monde lost advertising coming from the Bolloré group, after an article that criticized Bolloré. The collusion between economic power, political power and media power has become extremely worrying.

Journalists and their trade unions are complaining that the concentration of important media in the hands of a few prominent businessmen is already having an impact on their work. One of their concerns is whether or not they will be able to impartially cover protest movements or the upcoming presidential elections.

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