Reform of the Audio-Visual Industry Will Diminish State’s Role

President François Hollande. Photo: flickr.com/jmayrault

President François Hollande.
Photo: flickr.com/jmayrault

Under a new proposed law, the President of the Republic will no longer be responsible for naming the President of the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), announced Aurélie Filipetti, Minister of Culture and Communication, in Les Echos earlier this month.

The association will also decrease from nine to seven members, and the responsibility of nominating the presidents of France Télévisions, Radio France, and Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France will be turned to the CSA.

“The audio-visual sector in France has too often been considered a puppet in the hands of power. This government wants to leave its mark on a key stage, to put an end to this narrow concept of freedom of speech and pluralism,” claims Filipetti.

Freedom is the keyword in this draft bill, which Filipetti passed to the CSA and the Conseil d’Etat.

While the president of the Republic will nominate the president of the institution rather than the three as mandated under the current rule, the National Assembly and the Senate will each select three of the remaining six members, to be chosen by a three-fifths majority vote.

The reform of the nomination procedure for leaders in the audio-visual industry was one of President François Hollande’s many promises during his campaign for the presidency. Although he eventually abandoned the idea, the new Minister of Culture, Filipetti, confirmed Hollande’s commitment to the issue in May 2012.

A law regulating the institutional aspects of the industry will be adopted before the end of 2013. Another, focusing more on content, should come to light in 2014.

A sense of urgency is needed in the reform’s development and institution. The mandate of Jean-Luc Hees, CEO of Radio France, is set to expire in April 2014. If Hollande wants to keep his promise to no longer name presidents in the audio-visual sector, the law must be adopted before this date.

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