What we know about the public broadcasting grouping project led by Rachida Dati

Is public broadcasting at the dawn of a new era? Since her arrival at the Ministry of Culture in January, Rachida Dati claims to work at “grouping of forces” public audiovisual companies, namely France Télévisions, Radio France, France Médias Monde (FMM), National Audiovisual Institute (INA) – Arte and TV5 Monde being apart, because one is Franco-German, French-speaking and international for the other. Nearly fifty years after the end of ORTF and the separation of radio and television, these companies could soon find themselves under the same roof.

According to several sources, the Minister of Culture could reveal in May the form that this rapprochement could take. So far, the scenario of a reform modeled on the bill (PPL) carried by the senator from Val-de-Marne Laurent Lafon (UDI) holds the rope: the text, voted by the Upper House on June 13, 2023 , and included on the agenda of the National Assembly on May 23 and 24, in fact serves as a ready-made legislative vehicle to move towards a vote by the fall.

It marks the creation of a holding company made up of four subsidiaries, France Télévisions, Radio France, FMM and INA, and with capital held by the State. Called “France Médias”, it would be led by a president appointed “for five years by decree of the President of the Republic, on the proposal of the board of directors, after assent from Arcom [Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique] and after opinion of the competent permanent committees of the National Assembly and the Senate. Since 2013 and the presidency of François Hollande, the power to appoint the bosses of public audiovisual companies has been entirely in the hands of the regulator, as it was until 2009, when Nicolas Sarkozy made it a prerogative of the president. of the Republic.

What is the objective?

“In order not to let social networks become the dominant source of information, to continue to convey a common imagination in a divided society, a powerful public audiovisual sector is more necessary than ever”defended, on March 24, in La Tribune Sunday, senator Laurent Lafon and the deputy for Loire Quentin Bataillon (Renaissance). For its promoters, France Médias would be better able to resist competition and the digital superpowers than if the companies remained independent of each other. “I am betting that, by joining forces, our power will be multiplied”insisted Delphine Ernotte, the CEO of France Télévisions, on April 5, in Le Figaro. The president of the European Broadcasting Union believes that France is an exception on a continent where the public radio and television stations of many countries (United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Italy, etc.) are united.

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