France seeks €190 million of public broadcasting cuts

The French government said on Thursday that it would demand 190 million euros of spending cuts at its public broadcasting operations by 2022 as part of President Emmanuel Macron's pledge to improve state finances.

France seeks €190 million of public broadcasting cuts

The bulk of the cuts — 160 million euros ($185 million) — will be made at its various television operations, with the France O channel covering the country's overseas territories going off the air by 2020.

The government has already announced plans to pull the plug on France 4, an entertainment channel.

Last month it launched a revamp of the public audiovisual sector, which includes broadcasters like Arte and the France 24 news channel as well as a host of radio stations, including Radio France Internationale.

Alongside the spending cuts, the government has called for 150 million euros of increased investments in digital technologies by 2022.

The operations have a budget of 3.8 billion euros this year.

In a speech last week Macron said a plan to cut public spending overall in order to keep the budget within European Union deficit targets would be 
unveiled in the coming weeks.

He said the cuts would be part of a broad reorganisation of the French state aimed at bolstering state services in remote and deprived areas while 
making them easier to manage.

The president, a former investment banker, has pledged to balance the budget in France for the first time in more than 40 years by the end of his term in 2022.

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France slams Belarus’ ‘arbitrary’ crackdown on foreign media

France on Sunday condemned an "arbitrary" crackdown against the media in Belarus after the accreditation of several journalists working for foreign media was withdrawn in the wake of disputed presidential elections.

France slams Belarus' 'arbitrary' crackdown on foreign media
Belarus opposition supporters protesting against disputed presidential elections results in Minsk on August 27. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP
“The arbitrary measures taken by the Belarusian authorities against journalists violate press freedom,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
“I call on the Belarusian authorities to reverse these measures without delay,” he added, saying that the crisis in Belarus requires “the establishment of an inclusive national dialogue”.
“Repressive measures against journalists cannot help,” he said.
Belarusian authorities on Saturday withdrew the accreditation of journalists working for several foreign media, including AFP, ahead of a major demonstration Sunday challenging the results of the presidential election.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has faced unprecedented protests since the disputed August 9 election in which he claimed a landslide victory with 80 percent of the vote in a poll
that the opposition says was rigged.
Belarus government spokesman Anatoly Glaz said the decision to revoke the media accreditations was taken on the recommendation of the country's counter-terrorism unit.
He did not specify how many journalists were affected by the measure, but foreign media including the BBC, Reuters and Radio Liberty reported the withdrawal of accreditation of several of their journalists.
Belarusian journalists working for Agence France-Presse also had their accreditation revoked.