Strike hits French TV and radio stations

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
Strike hits French TV and radio stations
An illustration image of several media microphones on a table prior to a press briefing (Photo by ERIC CABANIS / AFP)

French TV and radio stations have been hit by a 'massive' strike against government plans to merge publicly funded media organisations.


French public broadcasting unions have called for workers to strike on Thursday and Friday in protest against plans to merge parts of the French public media apparatus. 

France's parliament on Thursday began examining a bill, spearheaded by the minister of culture, Rachida Dati, that would create a large public body called 'France Médias'.

It would merge the existing public bodies of France Télévisions, Radio France, the Institut National de l'Audovisuel (INA), and possibly also France Médias Monde (RFI and France 24) beginning in 2025-2026. 

From the government's perspective, the merger would help to protect public broadcasting from competition from private competitors. But unions see the plan as "ineffective, demagogic and dangerous". 

"At a time when public media is giving its all in a media landscape with private companies controlled by a handful of billionaires, why push it into a merger that is set to be long, complex, anxiety provoking for employees and with no real editorial objective?" representatives wrote in a joint column in Le Monde.

The changes would affect at least 16,000 workers.


The union for Radio France, SNJ, said that three out of every four journalists had walked out on Thursday, with widespread attendance across other sectors as well.



Many TV and radio stations do not have their usual programming, and are airing pre-recorded notices explaining that services are disrupted due to the strike.

These include channels such as France 2 and France 3, France 4 and France 5, as well as the Franceinfo news channel and regional radio and TV channels.

As for online media,the homepage of Franceinfo has a banner reading "due to a strike called by the France Télévisions and Radio France unions against the reform of public broadcasting, the operation of the website will be disrupted on Thursday. We apologise for the inconvenience."

READ MORE: Explained: French newspapers, TV and magazines

Morning radio stations on Radio France, such as France Inter, France Culture, France Musique, and more, will be replaced by music, while several television channels, including Franceinfo, will simply re-broadcast old programmes.


Some shows went ahead live, such as Télématin on Thursday morning, but most France 24 programmes will be severely disrupted on Thursday and potentially on Friday too.

The political debate between Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and head of the far-right RN party Jordan Bardella is still expected to go ahead at 8.15pm on Thursday. It will be aired on France 2, with management using external service providers, according to unions.

Previous changes to public broadcasting

This is not the only change that French public media have contended with in recent years. 

In 2022, the French governemnt scrapped the annual TV licence, saving households approximately €138 a year.

However this left French public service broadcasters with reduced funding.

The licence was used to finance the TV and radio channels in the public sector, and it raised approximately €3.7 billion a year - 65 percent of which is allocated to France Télévisions, 15.9 percent to Radio France, 7.5 percent to Arte, 7 percent to France Médias Monde, 2.4 percent to audiovisual archive agency INA and 2.1 percent to TV5 Monde, a Senate report revealed.


More strikes ahead?

Workers were called to join a rally on Thursday outside of the ministry of culture in Paris. Meanwhile, another mobilisation is planned for May 28th, which would be the first day of the vote on the merger bill.



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