French journalists accuse Macron government of trying to ‘muzzle’ the press

The new government of French President Emmanuel Macron is showing "extremely worrying" signs of hostility towards the independence of the press, unions representing journalists in around 20 French media groups said Tuesday.

French journalists accuse Macron government of trying to 'muzzle' the press
Photo: AFP
In commentary posted on several websites, the Societe des Journalistes (SDJ) chapters accused the government formed last month of using pressure tactics and legal threats against their journalists.
Signatories include Agence France-Presse's SDJ chapter as well as those of the dailies Le Monde, Liberation and Les Echos, and of the broadcasters Radio France, Europe 1, BFMTV and France 2.
The commentary states that last week, “two ministers sent extremely worrying signals regarding the way they conceive of the independence of media and the protection of sources.”
On Friday, the labour ministry lodged a complaint for document theft after an article in the left-leaning Liberation that set out details of the government's plans to overhaul the labour code — a hot-button issue in France.
'France avoided a clinical death': How French media reacted to Macron's win
Photo: The Local
Although the government said the complaint was not aimed at the newspaper but the source of the leak, the SNJ-CGT union saw it as a “signal intended to muzzle the profession”.
Late last week it emerged that Justice Minister Francois Bayrou contacted a director of Radio France to complain over calls by its journalists to his MoDem party, describing them as “harassment”.
Bayrou's intervention came a few hours before Radio France aired an investigation into the hiring of parliamentary assistants by MoDem MEPs.
MoDem is a small centrist party allied with Macron's Republic on the Move (REM) party.
The SDJ chapters also voiced concern over a complaint lodged by REM last month against political newsletter Lettre A over an article that cited hacked REM party information.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe criticised Bayrou on France Info radio, saying the justice minister should show “exemplary” behaviour.
“When you are a minister you can no longer react as you would as a simple citizen,” he said.
But Bayrou insisted to reporters later Tuesday: “Anytime I have something to say… whether to political officials or those in the media… I will say it.”

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Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.