Newspapers in France
Today's French media landscape is characterized by a strong state influence.
It has its roots in the post-war era, when the state intervened and regulated an
industry that lost credibility due to its cooperation with the German occupying
power. Even after the liberalization of the TV and radio monopoly in the 1980s,
the state has a strong control over the private players. For example, private
broadcasters must spend a certain amount of their profits on supporting French
film, 50% of the TV programs should come from European countries and 35% of the
music played on the radio must be related to France.
The position of the daily press in France is weak, despite having the largest
state support per capita in Europe. By law, it is forbidden for a media house to
control more than 30% of the newspaper market.
Freedom of expression and expression in the media is rooted in the Press
Freedom Act that was passed in 1881. The law has been revised a number of times
and prohibits, among other things, the call for discrimination on grounds of
gender, ethnicity or disability. It is also a criminal offense to call for
The media is also regulated by a law from 1995 that prohibits the invasion of
residents' privacy. means that French politicians and public figures do not have
disclosures that in many other countries would mean the end of a career.
In January 2015, France was shaken by an act of terror that was seen as an
attack on freedom of speech. Armed men entered the satire newspaper Charlie
Hebdo's editorial team and murdered twelve people. The newspaper has for many
years published controversial jokes by, among others, Islam's prophet Muhammad.
Internet and mobile telephony
Almost 80% of households have access to the Internet, and access is
increasing rapidly as more and more people connect via mobile broadband. Global
sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Google are the most visited.
File sharing of copyrighted material is prohibited under the so-called HADOPI
Act, which was passed in 2009.
The traditional media has found it difficult to find functioning business
models on the internet, although the newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro are
included in the list of the 20 most visited sites. Attempts at so-called
paywalls have not been successful in news distribution. An exception is the site
Mediapart, which has about 75,000 subscribers (2014). It was started in 2008 by
Edwy Plenel, former editor-in-chief at Le Monde. Mediapart is focused on
commentary and revealing journalism and has no ads but is fully funded with
There are four mobile operators with their own network. Largest is Orange,
owned by France Telecom, the former state telephone company that was privatized
in 1998 but where the state has continued influence as the largest individual
TV and radio
Experiments with television broadcasting began as early as 1931 and the first
TV channel (TF 1) started in 1948. Radio broadcasting began in 1922.
At the end of World War II, a state monopoly on broadcasters was introduced
and a state-licensed public service company was formed. In 1974, the business
was divided into seven separate companies, one for radio and three for
In 1982 the radio monopoly was broken and in 1984 the first private TV
channel, Canal Plus, was allowed. In 2012, there were over 1,200 private radio
stations. State Radio France broadcasts in seven channels and also has extensive
activities on the Internet.
In television, there are five state channels and some 50 private in the
terrestrial digital TV network. In addition, there are hundreds of cable and
satellite TV channels. The analogue terrestrial network was closed in 2011.
Advertising in the state channels is about to be phased out, while
advertising in the private channels is tightly regulated in terms of content,
length and frequency.
Daily press and magazine
The national daily press has long been in crisis, despite major government
subsidies totaling just over EUR 400 million in 2014. The reasons are poorly
developed distribution and competition from free newspapers like Metro and 20
Minutes. New players on the Internet have also eroded the press's business
models, while trade union agreements have prevented savings through new
The French press is more focused on a highly educated elite compared to the
Swedish and the space for gossip news is small due to laws protecting the
private sphere of citizens. Especially for France, several regional newspapers
also have a larger circulation than the largest national newspapers, and they
have not had the same circulation drop as the national press over the last ten
The largest of the French newspapers is the liberal regional newspaper
Ouest-France, founded in 1944, with an edition of almost 800,000 copies. (2014).
It comes out in 53 different editions in the regions of Pays de Loire, Normandy
and Brittany. Of the national newspapers, conservative Le Figaro and
left-leaning Le Monde are the largest, with editions of about 300,000 copies.
There is a rich flora of weekly magazines and monthly magazines, the largest
being TV Magazine with an edition of over 5 million copies. The biggest and best
known of the news magazines is Paris-Match with an edition of about 575,000
History day press
The first daily newspaper in France is counted on the 1631 established
Nouvelles ordinaires de divers endroits. It was already competed after a few
months out of La Gazette, which after a short time gained royal privilege and
under the name La Gazette de France became official body of the Ministry of
France's first daily newspaper, Le Journal de Paris (founded 1777), met with
distrust from other publishers but became a great success. More than 1,500
periodical publications were published during the French Revolution and beyond.
Several were bodies for individuals, such as Marat's L'Ami du Peuple. Napoleon
limited the number of newspapers in Paris to four in 1811 (La Gazette de France,
Le Journal de Paris, Le Journal de L'Empire and Le Moniteur); others were
In France, the world's first news agency, Agence Havas, was founded in 1835.
The first modern newspaper in France was La Presse, established in 1836 with the
help of a low price and a comprehensive content, ie. not just politics. The low
price was made possible through advertising sales. These ideas were passed on in
the Le Petit Journal, which was started in 1863, held a lower price than La
Presse and offered entertainment in the form of serial novels and sensations.
The Le Petit Journal got several competitors, mainly Le Petit Parisien
(1876), all with millions of editions. As a counterbalance to this press, Le
Figaro (founded as a weekly magazine in 1854) was launched in 1866 as a daily
quality newspaper. The daily press establishment was favored by a Freedom of the
Press Act of 1881; inter alia started the Catholic newspaper La Croix in 1883
and the socialist L'Humanité in 1904.
The First World War brought a complete break in development. During the
interwar period, Le Petit Journal and its closest competitors continued to
dominate. Through cooperation with Agence Havas and the distribution company
Hachette, both with a monopoly position, they saw that new magazines were not
started in Paris, but could not prevent the news and image magazine Paris-Soir
from being a great success and in the late 1930s were sold in 2 million ex.
The Second World War meant a new fatal interruption in the development of the
daily press, and after the war, the publication of all newspapers published
during the occupation was banned with some exception. For example, Le Figaro
restart, but not Paris-Soir. Among the new newspapers were Le Monde and France-Soir,
the latter closed in 2012.
The news agency operations within Agence Havas, through a state intervention
in 1944, became its own, subsequently cooperatively owned company, Agence
France-Presse (AFP). Beginning in the 1950s, the daily press received strong
competition from weekly magazines of a news character, first Le Nouvel
Observateur and L'Express, then Le Point and in the 1980s L'Événement du jeudi.
Book and publishing system
Before the introduction of the letterpress in the 1400s, texts were copied by
hand in the monasteries and from the 13th century also by booksellers who were
affiliated with the universities and whose activities were first established in
a regulations 1259. The printing press art was introduced in France by three
Germans, Michael Friburger, Martin Crantz and Ulrich Gering, who came to Paris
in 1469. The first book printed in Paris (Sorbonne) was "Lettres de Gaspard de
Bergame" (1470). The first major French printing company combined with the
bookstore was created by the Estienne family in Paris.
The authorities soon realized the political significance of printed writing,
and in the 16th century it was enacted the dépôt légal, ie. duty to
submit review copies. Only after a book had undergone religious censorship
(carried out at Sorbonne) could the bookseller be granted royal permission to
sell it. The religious censorship was replaced in 1686 by a state. The number of
royal censors was set at 79, and at the same time the number of bookshops in
Paris was limited to 24.
As a result of the censorship, Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu were not
printed in France but in Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In
the 18th century, a publishing license (privilege) was
introduced for the author, who, after drafting this permission, could sell it to
a bookstore. In a regulation in 1777, the author's position was strengthened -
among other things. severe penalties were imposed against undue copying. After
many shifts, the censorship was finally abolished in 1881.
In the 18th century, there was a trend towards book publishing in the modern
sense. The versatile Diderot, together with the bookseller Le Breton, was the
main responsible for the publication of the encyclopedia "Encyclopédie ou
Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers" in 35 volumes
(1751-80). Diderot wrote in 1767 in "Lettre sur le commerce de la librairie"
about the book publishing problem.
In 1826, Louis Hachette (1800–64) founded the book publisher Hachette, which
today is a worldwide media group. He has published textbooks, reference books as
well as French and foreign fiction. Garnier frères (founded in 1833) published
Sainte-Beuve, Proudhon and Chateaubriand as well as Rabelais with illustrations
by Gustave Doré. Librairie Calmann-Lévy was created in 1836 and published, among
other things. Dumas, Balzac, Vigny, Victor Hugo and Stendhal. The linguist
Pierre Larousse created Librairie Larousse in 1852, focusing on school books,
encyclopedias and dictionaries ("Grand Dictionnaire du XIX e siècle"
in 15 volumes, 1866-76). Ernest Flammarion (1846–1936) founded in 1876 the
publisher that still bears his name; Among his authors are Zola and his brother
Camille Flammarion, pioneer of popular science literature.
The trend towards international media conglomerates and large publishing
groups has gone a long way in France as well as in other western countries.
Hachette (2010) is the world's second largest publishing group (after
Germany-based Bertelsmann); major literary publishers in the group are
Calmann-Lévy, Fayard, Stock, Bernard Grasset, and the group also includes
Larousse. The second largest in France is Éditis, owned by Spanish Planeta; this
includes Presses de la Cité, Plon and Robert Laffont. Groupe Gallimard is the
third largest, followed by Flammarion.
Important publishers are also Éditions du Seuil, a leading literary publisher
within the La Martinière group, as well as the independent publisher
Albin-Michel. The literary award plays an important role. The most prestigious
is the Goncourt Prize. Other known prizes are Fémina, Renaudot, Interallié,
Médicis and the French Academy's Grand Prix du novel.
In 2009, the French book market had a turnover of approximately EUR 5
billion, and the number of new titles was approximately 65,000. After a period
of free prices, France returned to a strict system of fixed book prices in 1981,
which has been considered to favor quality literature and counter the best-sellerism.
French culture has played an important role
in European civilization. Not least during the 17th and
18th century enlightenment, French culture held a
significant position, and the country has also retained
a strong influence thereafter. France is, among other
things, the country that has been awarded the most Nobel
Prize in literature.
Already in the Middle Ages, France, with its Gothic
cathedral building art and science, played an important
role in European civilization. In the late 1800s and
early 1900s, through Impressionism, Expressionism and
Cubism, France had an almost total dominance in the
field of visual art. Names such as Paul Cézanne, Claude
Monet, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse are central to a
revolutionary era in art history.
Latest population statistics of France, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
French film has always had a great international
influence. The Lumière brothers were among the film's
pioneers. During the 1930s, director Jean Renoir was a
prominent name. In the late 1950s and early 1960s,
directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut
introduced new thinking in film art with the so-called
French literature experienced a new golden age during
the 20th century. Significant writers include Marcel
Proust, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, André Gide (Nobel
Laureate 1947) and André Malraux. Among the foremost
writers after the Second World War are Albert Camus
(Nobel Laureate 1957), Jean-Paul Sartre (Nobel Laureate
1964, but he refused to receive the award) and his
longtime life companion Simone de Beauvoir, one of the
women's movement's pioneers. Among other notable authors
are Claude Simon (Nobel Laureate 1985), Marguerite
Yourcenar, Marguerite Duras and Michel Tournier. In
2008, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio was awarded the 13th
Nobel Prize in literature in France and in 2014 the
author Patrick Modiano received the award.
Among classic French composers are Georges Bizet,
Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. In the 20th century, a
style of music called chanson (song in French)
was developed, which is considered to be based more on
the rhythm of the French language than other, more
English-influenced popular music. Some names in the
genre are Édith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Joe Dassin.
Another aspect of French cultural life is played out
at the shows of the big fashion houses. During the 20th
century, the leading fashion designers in Paris have
decided how the world's women and men should dress.
French fashion has recently lost ground, but Paris is
still the capital of the entire fashion industry. Names
like Coco Chanel, Charles Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent
are forever associated with the history of fashion. They
now have followers like Christian Lacroix or Jean-Paul
Gaultier. For France public policy, please check
Fines for Jean-Marie Le Pen
National Front's founder and father of current leader Marine Le Pen is
sentenced to € 5,000 in fines for public insult due to ethnicity. Jean-Marie Le
Pen had said at a meeting that Roma steal "naturally". The now 85-year-old Le
Pen has previously been convicted of racist statements and of denial of denial.
Low support for Hollande
The country's economic problems are having repercussions for President
Hollande, who is losing much confidence in the French. In a poll, he is
supported by only 15 percent of voters. Only 3 percent of respondents are very
satisfied with the president's job, and a full 76 percent are dissatisfied.
Investigation against Sarkozy is closed
The president's prospect of a return to politics increases as the judiciary
files a lengthy investigation into him for illegal campaign finance.
Strong support for Le Pen
National Front leader Marine Le Pen is supported by 33 percent of French in a
poll on the popularity of politicians. Le Pen comes in third place after
Interior Minister Manuel Valls and former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to a report by Amnesty International, more than 10,000 Roma were
evicted from their places of residence in France during the first six months of
the year. Interior Minister Manuel Valls defends the policy, explaining that
Roma from Bulgaria and Romania will never be able to integrate into France.
Le Pen's legal immunity is revoked
The European Parliament votes to lift National Front leader Marine Le Pen's
legal immunity. This means that it will be possible to prosecute her for
comparing Muslim prayer calls in French cities with the Nazi occupation during
the Second World War. A court in Lyon has wanted to bring charges against her
for incitement to people.
The Constitutional Council approves the law on same-sex marriage
The new law is signed by President Hollande and comes into force. (see
Law on same-sex marriage
Parliament approves the Socialist Government's much-debated bill on same-sex
marriage and the right of homosexuals to adopt children (see November 2012).
Minister acknowledges tax evasion
Retired Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac (see March) admits to lying that he
had an account for tax evasion in Switzerland. The opposition is accusing
President Hollande of naivety or lying about Cahuzac's business, and the
National Front calls for new elections.
Budget Minister Jérôme Cahuzac leaves his post after charges of tax evasion,
but he denies the charges being brought against him. (see January 2013)
Troop to Mali
France sends over 3,000 soldiers to the former Colony of Mali in West Africa
to help the government fight Islamist rebels.
Mass protests in cities
Hundreds of thousands of public servants protested in several cities against
the government's plans for budgetary tightening and demanded increased salaries
Minister is investigated for tax evasion
Prosecutors are launching a preliminary investigation into tax evasion
against Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac, who is responsible for fighting that
particular crime. Cahuzac is accused of having a secret bank account in
Basque separatist party dissolved
Batasuna announces its dissolution and closure of its operations in France.
Previously, Batasuna was banned in Spain for its suspected ties to the
terrorist-stamped separatist movement ETA.