FRANCE 24 broadcasts disrupted as staff strike against public media merger

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FRANCE 24’s broadcasts and digital platforms are disrupted Thursday by a strike called by unions at France Médias Monde, which includes FRANCE 24, Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Arabic-language radio station Monte Carlo Doualiya (MCD).

Issued on: 23/05/2024 - 12:38

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France Médias Monde headquarters is pictured in Issy les Moulineaux, just outside Paris, in June 2022. France Médias Monde headquarters is pictured in Issy les Moulineaux, just outside Paris, in June 2022. © Anthony Ravera, France Médias Monde

Staff at France Médias Monde, France Télévisions and Radio France are on strike Thursday against a proposed merger of France’s public broadcasting sector championed by Culture Minister Rachida Dati.

Dati has called for a transitional phase with a joint holding company for public broadcasting starting on January 1, 2025 followed by a merger into a new entity one year later. Some 16,000 employees would be affected.

The new media group would bring together France Télévisions, Radio France and the National Audiovisual Institute (INA) and France Médias Monde.

France Médias Monde argues it faces specific geopolitical challenges due to its international orientation. FRANCE 24 and RFI, for example, have been taken off the air in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The status of FMM is the subject of debate within French President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition, with some arguing it should be excluded from the proposed merger.

National Assembly lawmakers are scheduled to debate the reform during a first reading on Thursday. However, the debate will likely be postponed until June 24, due to delays on an agricultural bill.

‘It’s our survival at stake’

A mobilisation of French media workers is expected near the ministry of culture in central Paris at 1:30pm (1130 GMT) to protest against a reform that many view the government as seeking to force through.

Unions issued strike notices in Radio France, France Télévisions, France Médias Monde and INA, where there are fears for resources and jobs.

“It's our survival that's at stake”, said unions at Radio France at a general meeting on Wednesday, calling for the strike to send “a radical message”.

Unions are preparing for another possible strike on May 28, in case MPs first formal vote on the reform is held over to that date.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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