France 24 – Fin 

9 January 2008

Sarkozy wants to create a French BBC

It’s been barely a year since international news channel, France 24, hit the airwaves. The station – which broadcasts in English and French – was created in the Jacques Chirac era, with an aim of giving a different slant on the news agenda, to battle against the might of CNN and BBC World.

But now a new president is in town – President Sarkozy has different plans, including an interesting plan to re-define public service broadcasting as advert free. And as part of that, France 24 is for the axe.

France 24’s downfall is ultimately its English language service – the new president is unwilling to pay for a public service that doesn’t broadcast purely in French.

As a nation, France has long been a fierce defender of its native tongue, and that a president of the country has issues with providing services that aren’t in the main language of France, should not surprise anyone. That Sarkozy has decided to axe English services entirely is a little more interesting – global news channels are usually seen by governments as a useful tool for getting your point of view across the world, be it Voice of America, or CCTV-9.

Of course over in the UK, the government has always taken a different tack – the BBC World Service, which recently celebrated 75 years on air – continues to broadcast in 33 languages, and 2008 will see the launch of the tax-funded BBC Arabic Television.

In contrast, France 24 was due to launch its own arabic language service. That one however, won’t be happening.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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