After RSF’s action with Arcom, CNews is targeted, but it is public broadcasting that is affected

VSthose who remember the advertising for refreshing candies still call this kind of collateral effects “the double Kiss Cool effect”. By winning the case before the Council of State which, Tuesday February 13, “enjoined” the Audiovisual Communication Regulatory Authority (Arcom) to re-examine the management of pluralism by CNews, Reporters Without Borders has caused a side effect that it had undoubtedly not anticipated: the indictment of public broadcasting.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Reporters Without Borders defends its action against CNews: “We had to put an end to this cheating”

Annoyed to face, once again, criticism about the lack of diversity of points of view on its channel, the conservative channel in fact, in a defensive gesture, instantly passed the mistigri on to its competitors financed by citizens. Jordan Bardella had the same reflex: “The decision rendered by the Council of State on CNews, in the name of “pluralism” and the independence of information, will it apply to the public audiovisual service where political inter-personality and unified thinking openly reign? »asked the president of the National Rally on X.

A purely and doubly rhetorical question, since respect for pluralism is essential to all audiovisual media. The hosts of Vincent Bolloré’s channel could therefore just as easily have mentioned their competitors BFM-TV and LCI, or even TF1 and M6, which broadcast news programs and invite politicians (at various frequencies). None did. Perhaps because in their eyes, their colleagues in the private sector are exempt from any criticism – or should be so in the name of their private character, precisely. Perhaps, too, because public broadcasting constitutes their best common ground.

“Competitive asymmetries”

Less than a year ago, the TF1, M6, Canal+ and Altice groups, united within the Association of Private Channels, launched a denunciation of “competitive advantages” from which France Télévisions would benefit to their detriment. At the time, honesty of information and respect for pluralism were not among their complaints. The criticisms focused more on the “competitive asymmetries” from which they said they suffered, in terms of fiction, entertainment and sporting events, in particular.

The timing was right. Discussions on the objectives and means contracts of France Télévisions and Radio France were about to open, intended to set in stone the roadmap of the two companies for the next five years. Reflection on the sustainability of the transitional financing system called to replace the old fee (the VAT fraction) had to begin.

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