Chirac's dream of TV à la française suffers.

Adam   Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:48 am GMT

Chirac's dream of TV à la française suffers in the (English) translation

By Colin Randall in Paris
(Filed: 16/03/2006)

France's television dream of mounting a challenge to CNN and the BBC has suffered an embarrassing setback after claims that the new channel would broadcast most of its output in English.

Starved of realistic funding for a 24-hour news station, CII is due to be launched in December for transmission initially to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Its annual budget, met by the French taxpayer, will be £50 million, about an eighth of CNN's.

President Jacques Chirac promised a "CNN à la française" in the 2002 election campaign and is committed to a station that will "spread the values of France and its global vision throughout the world".

It was always known that part of the channel's output would be in English and Arabic but champions of the French language were appalled at suggestions that its output in the language be less than four hours a day.

The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé quoted Jean-Pierre Paoli, right-hand man to CII's head, Alain de Pouzihac, as saying: "It could be half in English, half in French or a different proportion."

But it added that CII executives told counterparts at the state-owned France Televisions, a partner with the private TF1 network in the venture, that French language transmissions would be limited to three hours each morning. The rest, Le Canard Enchainé said, would be "in the language of Shakespeare".

Mr Paoli was reported to have defended the proposal on the grounds that English was a universal language, adding: "We are hardly committing an act of high treason."

Marc Favre d'Echallens, of the Association for the Defence of the French Language (DLF), expressed outrage that a station designed to give a "French vision" of world affairs would contain so little in French.

"After celebrating Trafalgar with the English and making light of our own great victory of Austerlitz, it probably follows that a publicly-funded French television channel should end up broadcasting in English," he said.

"If all we get is a poor man's version of what is already available, what is the point of doing it at all?"

A spokesman for the new channel said: "Eighty per cent of our target audience will be anglophone. If we want pluralism in the field of international television news, we cannot ignore this. Our viewers will be opinion formers, journalists and people who travel a lot, and the language most common to them is English."
Guest   Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:49 pm GMT
What is the point of setting up this station if it uses english! I think that maybe it can be a station teaching french or a station that spreads french culture since it uses FRENCH taxpayers' money!
Guest   Thu Mar 16, 2006 3:29 pm GMT
Where do you find these reports? Have you not got a job or are you wasting your employers money by posting on his time?