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Sarkozy proposals on press raise concerns over media independence

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 6 October 2008 IFJ media release:

EFJ Worried about President's Proposals in French National Discussion on Press

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, said today it is worried about some proposals made by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he launched a national discussion on print media.

After the launch of the "Etats généraux de la presse écrite" (a national forum on written press that is organized by the government to consider changes in the sector) the unions, the EFJ and the IFJ are particularly concerned about proposals that could increase media ownership concentration and decrease journalists' rights over their own work.

"We are amazed by some contradictions in Mr. Sarkozy's speech," said Arne König, Chair of the EFJ. "How is it possible to declare at the same time that the press is not and will never be a product like the others and defend a relaxing of the rules on media concentration?"

Sarkozy asked the States General to "learn about the media sector in countries that can be compared" to France.

The EFJ can already confirm that most countries in Western Europe don't leave the media simply to "market forces."

It is not by increasing ownership concentration in France that we will expand the reach of French media companies abroad, says the EFJ, which is also astonished by Sarkozy's decision to give all leadership roles in the national discussion to the press owners.

In light of the "Etats généraux" and the French Presidency of the European Union, the IFJ and the EFJ are requesting a meeting with President Sarkozy to present to him these concerns shared by the IFJ, the EFJ and the French unions, the SNJ, the SNJ-CGT and F3C-CFDT.

http://www.etatsgenerauxdelapresse.fr/accueil/

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries worldwide.

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