The Independence of the News Media: Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics [1st ed.] 9783030340537, 9783030340544

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Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xvii
Introduction (Loïc Ballarini)....Pages 1-4
Front Matter ....Pages 5-5
Funding Print and Online News Media in France: Developments and Challenges (Franck Rebillard)....Pages 7-17
French Media: Can Crowdfunding Serve Pluralism? (Loïc Ballarini, Emmanuel Marty, Nikos Smyrnaios)....Pages 19-44
Crowdfunding: Does It Make a Significant Contribution to Community and Independent Media in Quebec? (Anne-Marie Brunelle, Michel Sénécal)....Pages 45-63
Front Matter ....Pages 65-65
Audiences and Readership of Revolutionary Leftist Media: The “Media Leader” Hypothesis (Vincent Goulet)....Pages 67-102
Occupation: “Net Cleaner”—The Socio-economic Issues of Comment Moderation on French News Websites (Nikos Smyrnaios, Emmanuel Marty)....Pages 103-131
The Local Press as a Medium to Create Diversion (Loïc Ballarini)....Pages 133-153
Media Coverage of the Coalbed Methane (CBM) Controversy in Lorraine, Northeast France: How the Regional Daily Press Boosted the Social Acceptability of an Unpopular Project (Marieke Stein)....Pages 155-175
Front Matter ....Pages 177-177
The Transnationalisation of Information and Journalism: The Case of Arab Media (Tourya Guaaybess)....Pages 179-197
A Conditional Offer: The Strategies Employed in the Field of Power in Morocco to Control the Press Space (Abdelfettah Benchenna, Dominique Marchetti)....Pages 199-226
The Algerian Press: Deregulation Under Pressure—The New Forms of Control or the “Invisible Hand” of the State (Cherif Dris)....Pages 227-255
Tunisian Post-2011 Private Presses: Economic and Political Mutations (Enrique Klaus, Olivier Koch)....Pages 257-279
Fortune and Misfortune of the Egyptian Private Press: Sociohistorical Study of a Place of Production of Information (Bachir Benaziz)....Pages 281-308
Back Matter ....Pages 309-320
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GLOBAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION RESEARCH A PALGRAVE AND IAMCR SERIES

The Independence of the News Media Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics Edited by Loïc Ballarini IAMCR AIECS AIERI

Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series Series Editors Marjan de Bruin Chair Technical Working Group Equity, Diversity and Inclusion The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus Kingston, Jamaica Claudia Padovani SPGI University of Padova Padova, Italy

The International Association for Media and Communications Research (IAMCR) has been, for over 50 years, a focal point and unique platform for academic debate and discussion on a variety of topics and issues generated by its many thematic Sections and Working groups (see http://iamcr. org/) This new series specifically links to the intellectual capital of the IAMCR and offers more systematic and comprehensive opportunities for the publication of key research and debates. It will provide a forum for collective knowledge production and exchange through trans-disciplinary contributions. In the current phase of globalizing processes and increasing interactions, the series will provide a space to rethink those very categories of space and place, time and geography through which communication studies has evolved, thus contributing to identifying and refining concepts, theories and methods with which to explore the diverse realities of communication in a changing world. Its central aim is to provide a platform for knowledge exchange from different geo-cultural contexts. Books in the series will contribute diverse and plural perspectives on communication developments including from outside the Anglo-speaking world which is much needed in today’s globalized world in order to make sense of the complexities and intercultural challenges communication studies are facing. More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/15018

Loïc Ballarini Editor

The Independence of the News Media Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics

Editor Loïc Ballarini Crem (Centre de recherche sur les médiations) University of Lorraine Metz, France

Translated into English by Coup De Puce Expansion (SARL), whose team included the following people: Xanthë Bordes-Ryle, Translator; Jackie Godfrey, Rereader; Teri Jones-Villeneuve, Translator; Ian Margo, Project Manager, Translator; Daniel Mckinnon, Translator; Bianca Ng, Translator; Niamh O’brien, Translator; Beth Varley, Translator, Rereader; Stephen Ward Butler, Translator. ISSN 2634-5978         ISSN 2634-5986 (electronic) Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series ISBN 978-3-030-34053-7    ISBN 978-3-030-34054-4 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Cover design: eStudioCalamar This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

Acknowledgements

The research that led to Chap. 3 (French Media: Can Crowdfunding Serve Pluralism?) and the translation of this book received support from the French National Research Agency (ANR), as part of the research programme Collab (ANR-14-CE24-0001).

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Contents

1 Introduction  1 Loïc Ballarini Part I Political Economy of the Media in the Age of Crowdfunding   5 2 Funding Print and Online News Media in France: Developments and Challenges  7 Franck Rebillard 3 French Media: Can Crowdfunding Serve Pluralism? 19 Loïc Ballarini, Emmanuel Marty, and Nikos Smyrnaios 4 Crowdfunding: Does It Make a Significant Contribution to Community and Independent Media in Quebec? 45 Anne-Marie Brunelle and Michel Sénécal

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Contents

Part II Journalism and the Public Sphere  65 5 Audiences and Readership of Revolutionary Leftist Media: The “Media Leader” Hypothesis 67 Vincent Goulet 6 Occupation: “Net Cleaner”—The Socio-­economic Issues of Comment Moderation on French News Websites103 Nikos Smyrnaios and Emmanuel Marty 7 The Local Press as a Medium to Create Diversion133 Loïc Ballarini 8 Media Coverage of the Coalbed Methane (CBM) Controversy in Lorraine, Northeast France: How the Regional Daily Press Boosted the Social Acceptability of an Unpopular Project155 Marieke Stein Part III Before and After the Revolution: Media in the MENA Region 177 9 The Transnationalisation of Information and Journalism: The Case of Arab Media179 Tourya Guaaybess 10 A Conditional Offer: The Strategies Employed in the Field of Power in Morocco to Control the Press Space199 Abdelfettah Benchenna and Dominique Marchetti 11 The Algerian Press: Deregulation Under Pressure—The New Forms of Control or the “Invisible Hand” of the State227 Cherif Dris 12 Tunisian Post-2011 Private Presses: Economic and Political Mutations257 Enrique Klaus and Olivier Koch

 Contents 

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13 Fortune and Misfortune of the Egyptian Private Press: Sociohistorical Study of a Place of Production of Information281 Bachir Benaziz Author Index309 Subject Index315

Notes on Contributors

Loïc Ballarini  is Associate Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Lorraine, France. He has co-edited three French language books. His research focuses on the place and the role of journalism in the public spheres. He is also a former journalist. Bachir Benaziz  holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France. His works focus on contemporary transformations of journalism in Egypt. Benaziz is now an associate researcher at the Institute for Economic and Social Development Studies (IEDES). Abdelfettah  Benchenna  is an associate professor at the University of Paris 13, France. He works on the challenges of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the education, culture and administration sectors in French-speaking countries of the South, on North-South relations in the digital age and on cultural industries in the MENA countries. Anne-Marie Brunelle  is a PhD candidate at the University of Québec, Montréal, Canada, where she works on the political economy of the media, on the sociology of journalism, on the convergence and concentration of media ownership and on the relations between media, democracy and citizenship. Cherif  Dris is Professor of Political Science at the Higher National Education of Journalism and Information Sciences, Algiers, Algeria. His research areas include domestic politics of Algeria, Algerian media and regional policy. He has written several book chapters. xi

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NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

Vincent  Goulet  is a former video editor and associate professor at the University of Lorraine, France, who holds a PhD in Sociology (for which he was awarded the Institut national de l’audiovisuel [INA] research prize). He is now an associate researcher at SAGE (CNRS/the University of Strasbourg). He works on the cross-­border labour market in the Upper Rhine and is the author of two books. Tourya  Guaaybess is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Lorraine, France. She works on international communication, the Euro-Mediterranean journalistic space and Arab media. She is the author of The Media in Arab Countries: From Development Theories to Cooperation Policies (2019) and the editor of National Broadcasting and State Policy in Arab Countries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Enrique Klaus  has specialised in Media Studies in the Arab world. He holds a PhD in Political Sciences and has dedicated his thesis to Egyptian media under the rule of Hosni Mubarak. He authored many articles on news agencies, audiovisual regulation and written press. He is teaching journalism studies at Galatasaray University, Istanbul, Turkey Olivier Koch  is Associate Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France, in the Department of Journalism. His early work focused on international communication issues since the end of the Cold War. His latest publications focus on media reforms in Tunisia. Dominique Marchetti  is a senior researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS in French), France, associated to the European Center of Sociology and Political Science (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the University of Paris 1-Sorbonne). His current work focuses on the processes of cultural transnationalisation based on the study of the production and circulation of international news. Emmanuel  Marty  is Associate Professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Grenoble Alpes, France. His research focuses on new journalistic practices as well as media discourse and its analysis through textual and lexical statistics, especially media frames and their interactions with public opinion and political issues. Franck  Rebillard  is Professor of Media Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris. He is the author of books dedicated to the Web 2.0 (2007), media diversity (2013) and digital culture (2016), and of many

  NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS 

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articles published in journals such as Media, Culture & Society or New Media & Society. Michel Sénécal  is a professor and head of a media studies research programme at the TÉLUQ University, Canada. Member of the board of the Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur l’information, la communication et la société (CRICIS) Research Center, he works on the hybridisation of audiovisual sectors in the digital era in the light of long-term developments. He has been a visiting professor at several universities (Autonomous University of Baja California, Paris 8, Sciences Po Toulouse, the University of the Basque Country). Nikos Smyrnaios  is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Toulouse, France. His research includes the political economy of online media, digital journalism and the political use of social media. He has written the book Internet Oligopoly: The Corporate Takeover of Our Digital World, 2018. Marieke  Stein  is an associate professor at the University of Lorraine, France, member of the Centre de Recherches sur les Médiations (Crem). She works on environmental controversies and has just written, with Vincent Carlino, Les Paroles militantes dans les controverses environnementales (Questions de communication, Série “Actes”, 2019).

List of Figures

Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2 Fig. 2.3 Fig. 2.4

Fig. 3.1 Fig. 6.1 Fig. 7.1 Fig. 7.2 Fig. 7.3 Fig. 7.4 Fig. 7.5 Fig. 8.1 Fig. 8.2 Fig. 9.1 Fig. 9.2

Press revenues in France. (Source: Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication 2016 [French Ministry for Culture and Communication 2016]) 11 Advertising revenue for Internet and print media (2015–2017). (Sources: IREP 2016 and 2017) 12 Direct public assistance to the press in 2017. (Source: Cour des Comptes 2018; Direction du Budget 2018 [French Court of Auditors, 2018; French National Budget Office, 2018]) 13 Direct public assistance to the online press (2009–2016). (Sources: Cour des Comptes 2018; Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication 2016 [French Court of Auditors, 2018; French Ministry for Culture and Communication, 2016]; SPIIL 2017)14 Analysed crowdfunding campaigns (authors’ work) 31 Table showing the people interviewed (authors’ work) 110 Distribution of articles by type (author’s work) 141 Distribution of articles by author (author’s work) 142 The 11 themes and 3 functions of a local newspaper (author’s work)144 Distribution of articles by tone (author’s work) 147 Sources cited in articles and shown in photos (author’s work) 148 Media coverage of CBM in Le Républicain Lorrain (author’s work)160 Press genres used (author’s work) 167 Events in the MENA region 181 News media in the MENA region 181

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List of Tables

Table 11.1 The main pure players in Algeria in 2017 Table 11.2 Audience of pure players compared to online editions of newspapers, April 2016–January 2017 Table 11.3 Audience of online sites in number of visitors in 2016

240 240 241

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CHAPTER 1

Introduction Loïc Ballarini

Do you trust the news media? Since 1987, the French daily newspaper La Croix has asked that question each year by means of a survey undertaken by Kantar. And each year the results are similar, even though they vary slightly. Less than half of the people polled consider that “things really happened or almost happened” as reported by the media. The fault lies with the media themselves, since most of the respondents believe that journalists are subject to pressure from the rich and powerful. It therefore comes as no surprise to find that many new media, to counter this belief, emphasise, in addition to their unique editorial line, their commitment to journalistic ethics, their decision to rely on subscriptions rather than on advertising and a closer relationship with their readers. This context shows that, even though the issue has been with us for more than a century, the question of media independence is still worthy of attention today. Recent upheavals in the information ecosystem, marked in particular by new waves of economic concentration and the unavoidable power of large digital platforms and their algorithms, have

L. Ballarini (*) Crem (Centre de recherche sur les médiations), University of Lorraine, Metz, France e-mail: [email protected] © The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_1

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not improved the economic situation of most media, nor the working conditions of journalists or the public’s perception of the information thus produced. On the contrary, since the criticism, often justified, which has been levelled at the media in recent decades by social science researchers and civil society, has recently been compounded by increasingly virulent attacks from angry citizens, industrialists and elected officials alike, even to the highest levels of government. Yet democracy cannot exist without free media. How then can we solve this equation? How do the news media view the issue of independence at the beginning of the twenty-first century? The ambition of this book is to present recent research on media independence by French-speaking researchers. All the contributions are from the information and communication sciences and have already been published in well-known journals or collective works, except one which is an unpublished chapter of work to obtain a habilitation thesis. They thus bear witness to a dynamic field of research, which over the past twenty years or so, has profoundly renewed media studies in the French-speaking world. It would have been impossible to bring together in a single book all the fields covered by this research, which also includes, without limitation, the socio-economics of media organisations (stakeholder strategies, professional practices and information diversity), the morphology of journalism professions (changes in professions, conditions of work for journalists), media representations of events and social identities (changes in media content and forms linked to gender, class and race issues) and the media as arenas for public debate (construction of public issues, relationship with sources and the public, the democratic role of media). An overview of this research can be found in Fleury and Walter (2014) and Walter et al. (2018). The choice of the media independence theme was both a necessity and an opportunity. A vital necessity for the media, because the deep economic crisis they are facing cannot be resolved without a thorough reflection on the importance of media independence and the forces that jeopardise it. It is an opportunity for research, because independence is less a concept as such than the result of various intersecting issues. This is why this book approaches it from three interrelated and complementary perspectives: the economy, the relationship to media readers and the political context. In the first part, devoted to the media economy, Franck Rebillard begins by recalling the multiple ways in which media are financed in France. In the light of declining advertising revenues, fluctuations in government subsidies, declining printed press readership and uncertainties in

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online media financing, how can sustainable business models be developed? Above all, how can we ensure the viability of the media while making secure that the origin of funds will not influence editorial choices and information quality? Crowdfunding often appears to be an obvious solution, and it has now become commonplace in France. However, Loïc Ballarini, Emmanuel Marty and Nikos Smyrnaios show that, while it is useful for launching or saving media that are financially independent of powerful industry, it seems to be reserved for niche media for which it is unable to provide all the financing. Although the context is similar in Quebec, the analysis of Anne-Marie Brunelle and Michel Sénécal shows that crowdfunding is less used there, being integrated into community practices that have long been based on the search for alternative financing. However, achieving financial profitability is not an objective in itself. Information is certainly a commodity, which can be bought and sold in a very competitive market, but its importance in the democratic game makes it a unique product. It cannot exist without the trust of the public to whom it is addressed. This trust can be built in different ways. In the case of revolutionary left-wing media, which Vincent Goulet examines from an historical and anthropological perspective, it is possible for media to gather considerable audiences when they succeed in embodying the latent desires of their respective audiences. More than a century ago, French regional dailies and weeklies chose another path. Loïc Ballarini points out that by defining their editorial lines around a consensus these newspapers were able to develop flourishing local monopolies, which are now being challenged. The French regional press has indeed moved so far away from the daily reality of its readers that it can no longer convince them to read it. By examining the media coverage of a local environmental controversy in eastern France, Marieke Stein also shows that the role of the local press in public debate can vary according to political, economic and ideological constraints. In the case of online media, relations with the public are constructed via comments, which raise the question of how to moderate them. In a pioneering chapter on the subject, Emmanuel Marty and Nikos Smyrnaios analyse the links between the economic, technical and editorial aspects of commentary moderation on the one hand, and the quality and diversity of the information thus produced on the other. Ultimately, the independence of the news media depends, of course, on the political context in which they operate. Recent research has shed new light on Arabic-speaking countries and a chapter offers a unique overview of these issues. Tourya Guaaybess shows how, since the 1980s, the

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transnationalisation of information production and dissemination has led to a transformation of the Arab media landscape, to the benefit of the Gulf countries and at Egypt’s expense. The result is new geopolitics of information, combined with new professional practices and profiles of journalists. The specificities of four countries are then analysed. For Morocco, Abdelfettah Benchenna and Dominique Marchetti have investigated the way in which the field of power has tried, since the 1990s, to dominate the media while using methods that are less openly repressive than before and therefore less likely to be criticised by international organisations. For Algeria, Cherif Dris has observed similar changes in which the government practices deregulation while remaining the “invisible hand” that keeps the media under control, thanks in particular to the lack of professionalism of journalists. Enrique Klaus and Olivier Koch describe how in Tunisia after the Arab Spring, the political domination of private media was weakened both by the transition from print media to digital media and by an economic context experienced as a crisis by its main actors. Finally, for Egypt, Bachir Benaziz takes a socio-historical approach to trace the emergence of a new place of information production since the 1990s. After decades of state press dominance, the emergence of private media must be closely linked to the political and social changes experienced by the country, as well as to the careers and ambitions of the businessmen who are increasingly taking over the information sector.

References Fleury, B., & Walter, J. (Eds.). (2014). État des recherches en SIC sur l’information médiatique. Revue française des Sciences de l’information et de la communication, 5, https://journals.openedition.org/rfsic/992. Walter, J., Douyère, D., Bouillon, J.-L., & Ollivier-Yaniv, C. (Eds.). (2018). Dynamiques des recherches en sciences de l’information et de la communication, CPDirSIC, http://cpdirsic.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/dynamiquesdes-recherches-sic-web-180919.pdf.

PART I

Political Economy of the Media in the Age of Crowdfunding

CHAPTER 2

Funding Print and Online News Media in France: Developments and Challenges Franck Rebillard

To begin this section, which looks at how the recent growth of crowdfunding underscores concerns about the way news media is financed, Franck Rebillard studies the major changes and sociopolitical issues affecting the financial resources available to print and online media in France. As in many countries, the press in France is usually seen as being financed through two complementary channels: on the one hand, publications are sold to readers, while, on the other hand, advertising space is sold to advertisers. Massive growth in Internet access has of course created online news platforms that draw advertisers. At the same time, however, advertising spending in the media has strongly declined while Internet users remain generally disinclined to pay to access information. As a result, crowdsourcing platforms—which began to appear at the end of the 2000s, first in the United States and later in Europe—were often seen as an alternative source of financing. With the help of crowdsourcing, the media might be able to overcome its funding crisis. Such an approach,

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_2

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however, meant that a number of important aspects have been overlooked. First, the scale of crowdfundingremains quite small for both print and online media. In France, traditional prior-subscription models, for example, bring in two to four times more financing than crowdsourcing. Second, the importance of State assistance, which currently accounts for 15% of media revenues in France, is too often discounted. Lastly, the appearance of new sources of media financing calls into question the role of the State in supporting media pluralism. Google—a major beneficiary of the transfer of advertising budgets to oligopolistic Internet platforms—has invested millions of euros in supporting online media, while during the same time support from the French government has decreased accordingly. First Publication Rebillard, F, 2018. “Le financement de la presse et de l’information en ligne en France. Evolution et enjeux”, in: Ballarini L., Costantini S., Kaiser M., Matthews J., Rouzé V. (eds.), Financement participatif: les nouveaux territoires du capitalisme, Questions de communication série Actes 38, pp. 97–106 Translated by Daniel McKinnon (Coup de Puce Expansion)

In a text focused on crowdfunding in cultural and media industries, this chapter may seem somewhat tangential. While the focus here is narrower, looking at media industries only, and more specifically the production of news in the written and online press, it also considers crowdfunding as one of a larger range of press financing methods. By looking more broadly at financing for the written press and its move online, it is possible to see that the major driver—beyond the transition to digital itself—is less the recourse to the private, decentralised microfinancing of crowdfunding and more the arrival of new players in this space:

F. Rebillard (*) IRMÉCCEN—Institut de Recherches Médias, Cultures, Communication et Numérique, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France e-mail: [email protected]

2  FUNDING PRINT AND ONLINE NEWS MEDIA IN FRANCE: DEVELOPMENTS… 

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platform operators known as “infomediaries” (Guibert et al. 2016). Since the fact is not widely known, it is important to highlight that while infomediaries have been receiving advertising revenues for a number of years (Rebillard and Smyrnaios 2010), they have also recently become a source of financial assistance as well, taking over, to varying degrees, the role of the State in directly supporting the press. To explore this issue, the chapter is divided into three parts, drawing on economic data produced by a wide range of stakeholders, including researchers, public institutions and professional organisations, to illustrate the situation in France. The importance of crowdfunding in news media will be assessed through a review of existing literature. Given the weakness of crowdfunding, a broader analysis will look at the changes in financing for the print and online news industries, noting the increasing share of State assistance, in the form of subsidies especially. Then, the chapter will consider how the private sector is assuming the role of funding source and distributor of assistance. While this remains in early stages and is not yet stable, the private sector’s new role has proven to be larger than crowdfunding and illustrates the growing importance of infomediaries in the evolution of print and online news media financing.

The Weakness of Crowdfunding for News and Information Two scientific articles on crowdfunding for news were recently published. One looked at the importance of the reputation of the organisation initiating a crowdfunding campaign (Goasdoué 2016). The other considered the possible link between crowdfunding and the quality of journalism (Cariou et al. 2017). Although neither work was focused on assessing the financing of individual projects, they do provide useful details and figures in this regard. Data collected by Goasdoué (2016) cover the period from 2010 to 2015 and look at the two main crowdfunding platforms in France. During this time, KissKissBankBank collected €1.3 million under its “Journalism” category, and Ulule collected €3 million under its “Publishing and Journalism” category, which also covers projects not specifically related to news and information. On this basis, it is possible to estimate crowdfunding’s financial contribution at around €700,000 per year.

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This amount is relatively small in regard to the total amount of financial resources available in the print and online news media (see below). Moreover, the figure also conceals the wide disparities that exist in terms of funding. While crowdfunding “successes” are often cited, with funding amounts reaching tens of thousands of euros—€20,000 collected for the Brief.me digital newsletter in November 2014, €50,199 for Society magazine in March 2015, €36,395 for the online local news site Rue89 Strasbourg in June 2015—this overshadows a much larger number of projects that garner only modest donations. By way of example, of the 40 projects on KissKissBankBank and Ulule studied by Cariou, Lyubareva and Rochelandet (2017), the median amount collected was €8000. Even the projects that receive the most crowdfunding support often draw on other sources of funding as well. A representative case is Nice Matin, a regional daily newspaper which collected a record €376,275— but this was a mere 2% of the €16 million it took to keep the presses rolling. This led Goasdoué to observe that “from an economic point of view, crowdfunding has a variable, but often (very) small share in financing. … Consequently, in most cases economic considerations are of secondary importance to the publicity and profile-raising efforts that underlie fundraising drives” (Goasdoué 2016, p. 292). Thus, crowdfunding does not constitute a major source of financing for the print and online news media. More surprising still—or at the very least at odds with the prominence it is given as a high-tech saviour—is that crowdfunding actually collects less than traditional prior subscription models. The daily newspaper L’Humanité, which has been organising subscription drives since 1907, was able to collect €1.8 million in this way in June 2015; the monthly Le Monde Diplomatique—equally seasoned in the practice—collected €296,000 in 2014 (Goasdoué 2016). The introduction in recent years of tax-rebate schemes for donations to political and general news media organisations through associations such as J’aime l’info and Presse et pluralisme has made it possible to determine the total amount of such donations. Data from the Union for Independent Online Journalism [Syndicat de la presse indépendante d’information en ligne] (SPIIL 2017) revealed that donations made under tax-rebate schemes totalled €1.8 million in 2012, €2.6 million in 2013 and 2014, €3.4 million in 2015, and €2.6 million in 2016. When compared against crowdfunding’s annual €700,000, revenue from subscription drives is regularly three to four times higher.

2  FUNDING PRINT AND ONLINE NEWS MEDIA IN FRANCE: DEVELOPMENTS… 

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The Increasing Importance of Subsidies in Financing Print and Online News Media News media crowdfunding struggles to cross the threshold of €1 million per year. Private donations, whether in the modern form of crowdfunding or in the older form of subscriptions, never total more than €5 million. Yet the total resources associated with the print and online news media industry run in the billions. These resources can be divided into two main categories: earnings from commercial activity and financial resources in the strict sense of the term. Earnings from news media’s commercial activity come in two streams: selling the news and information itself, and selling the accompanying advertising space. The sale of information to readers and advertising space to advertisers continues to be the largest source of revenue, even if total amounts have been on a downward trend over the past decade. Revenues for the press industry shrank from €10.8 billion in 2007 to €7 billion in 2016, following a period of growth from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s (Fig. 2.1). The decline is largely due to a decrease in advertising revenues, which were more than halved from €4.8 billion in 2007 to €2.2 billion in 2016. Over this period, sales revenue also fell although less sharply, from €6 billion in 2007 to €4.8 billion in 2016. The downward trend for advertising revenue in printed press is almost inversely proportional to the rise in advertising revenue online (Fig. 2.2). Seemingly more pronounced in 2017, this asymmetrical trend chiefly benefits oligopolistic Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook in the 12,000,000 10,000,000

€K

8,000,000 Turnover

6,000,000

Sales revenue

4,000,000

Advertising revenue

2015

2013

2011

2009

2007

2005

2003

2001

1999

1997

1995

1993

1991

1989

1985

0

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2,000,000

Fig. 2.1  Press revenues in France. (Source: Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication 2016 [French Ministry for Culture and Communication 2016])

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Advertising revenue (€ M) 4094 3216

3453

2450

2286

2015

2016 Internet

2116

2017 Print

Fig. 2.2  Advertising revenue for Internet and print media (2015–2017). (Sources: IREP 2016 and 2017)

case of the sale and distribution of search and display advertisements (Smyrnaios 2018). These companies are capturing advertising revenue that previously went to print media, which must also deal with readers and web users who are disinclined to pay for information online. The reduction in commercial revenue makes news media companies increasingly dependent on financial investments. While reliable data on corporate investments and equity, and aggregate data in particular, can be hard to come by, data on donations (via crowdfunding and subscription, see above) and public support to the industry is readily available. Public assistance can be identified across several reporting lines in France’s national budget. A number of direct aids are specifically dedicated to supporting print and online news media. Budget programme category No. 180 “Press and Media”, dedicated to developing media pluralism, represents nearly €130 million spent on direct public assistance in 2017 (Fig. 2.3). There are also a number of indirect aids, which may not be specific to print and online media. These include a special, highly reduced VAT rate of 2.1% that applies to certain products such as newspapers, and tax reductions for certain professions such as journalist. The nature of this type of assistance makes it difficult to quantify with precision, leading the Court

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Direct public assistance to the press in 2017 (in € million)

13 130

Distribution assistance Support for press delivery

36

Exemptions from employer contributions for delivery companies

15

Exemptions from territorial economic contribution (CET) for wholesale companies

7

Assistance for media pluralism Support to national political and general information publications with limited advertising revenues Support to local political and general information daily newspapers with limited advertising revenues Support to regional weekly publications

13 1 1

Modernisation assistance Support for social development Support for press distribution

1 18

Support for modernising distribution

6

Strategic fund for press development

27

Fund to support creativity and innovation in the press

5

Fig. 2.3  Direct public assistance to the press in 2017. (Source: Cour des Comptes 2018; Direction du Budget 2018 [French Court of Auditors, 2018; French National Budget Office, 2018])

of Auditors to assess the 2017 amount as ranging between €580 million and €1.8 billion (2018). Indirect assistance thus accounts for around €1 billion. When this figure is added to the €130 million the industry receives in direct assistance, the total amount is in the order of €1.1 billion. This is the figure used by SPIIL (2015) to demonstrate that the share of public assistance in press financing continues to increase and now accounts for about 15% of the industry’s revenues.

Private-sector Support Replacing Government Aid The growing share of assistance in print and online media financing, as previously described, is an important phenomenon not only in quantitative terms but in qualitative terms as well. Although the trend is more

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recent and therefore less evident, the private sector is beginning to replace public authorities as a source of funding and distributor of assistance. The change occurred in 2013. Or, more precisely, on 1 February 2013, when Eric Schmidt, then executive chairman at Google, was received by French President François Hollande at the Élysée Palace to sign a commitment of financial support to online political and general news media, following a months-long period of disagreement (Smyrnaios 2013). A €60 million fund was established, running for three years, funded entirely by Google and managed by an association known as Fonds Google-AIPG pour l’innovation numérique dans la presse (FINP) [Google–AIPG Fund for Digital Innovation in the Press]. The only members of FINP were Google Ireland Limited and the Political and General News Media Association (AIPG). FINP managed €20 million per year. A careful analysis of direct State assistance to the press over this period shows that support to online media decreased by roughly the same amount (Fig.  2.4). Direct State aid to online media had increased suddenly in 2009, following France’s National Press Forum  (Etats généraux de la presse). The Forum called for the establishment of a fund for online press services (SPEL), which was allocated €20 million per year. When this €20 million per year was added to the €25 million from the budget item “Support for modernising the daily political and general information press”, a total of €45 million of potential

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Strategic fund for press development

0

0

0

0

21

22

23

10

11

Fund for online press services (SPEL)

1

20

20

18

0

0

0

0

0

Support for modernising the daily political and general information press

20

25

25

18

0

0

0

0

0

Total (€ million)

21

45

45

36

21

22

23

10

11

Fig. 2.4  Direct public assistance to the online press (2009–2016). (Sources: Cour des Comptes 2018; Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication 2016 [French Court of Auditors, 2018; French Ministry for Culture and Communication, 2016]; SPIIL 2017)

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financial support was available to online media outlets in 2009. The same amount was available in 2010, before decreasing to €36 million in 2011. Funding continued to decline before stabilising around €20 million from 2012 to 2014, and then around €10 million from 2015 to 2016. The 2012–2016 period thus began with the French government’s mediation efforts with Google, led by Marc Schwartz, and concluded with the dissolution of FINP and the cessation of its activities. The period also saw the elimination of budget lines for SPEL and for modernising the daily political and general information press in 2012—cuts that were only very partially offset by the concurrent creation of the Strategic fund for press development. The State winding-down its support for the online press coincided with the introduction of a private fund to that end. Given that the amount of private assistance roughly equals that previously provided by the State, the change in the source of funding could be seen as a matter of little consequence. The move from State to private distribution of aid did, however, have certain repercussions, given the vested interest of both members of FINP in the development of the online press industry. AIPG leadership decided to limit FINP assistance to political and general news media only, rather than to the media industry as a whole. Google provided sales support through its own advertising networks while at the same time offering financial support to selected projects (Smyrnaios 2015).

Final Comments The digital transition has brought new funding opportunities to the press industry. Crowdfunding—the digital version of the prior subscriptions of the past—is one such source of funding. It is, however, less fruitful than other sources. While growth in digital channels did bring newfound streams of advertising revenue, these new revenue streams have certainly not offset the decline in consumer-generated revenues. At the same time, the industry also finds itself hemmed in by other outlets born of the Internet era: infomediaries. Among them, Google has moved beyond its role as an infomediary to also invest in a fund to support the online press in France, thereby replacing the French state as a provider of financial aid. Since then, Google has scaled up efforts in this area and is now involved at a European level. In 2015, it created a Digital News Innovation Fund along the lines of the French FINP that is open to all EU member states. The expansion also came with an increase in funding, with Google

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contributing €150 million over a three-year period. A wider range of sites is also eligible, not only political and general news sites. The Fund is a part of Google’s wider Digital News Initiative that, unlike the purely commercial advice offered at the time of the FINP, is also involved in providing technical assistance and training. In doing so, this has helped ensure that Google services are incorporated into projects developing news sites throughout Europe. Google has thus been able to ensure its dominant influence over the industry and increased its likelihood of media capture, which up to now has operated mostly through traditional financial pressures (Nechushtai 2017). Almost in parallel, the French state has introduced a number of new efforts to support the online press. In 2017, fresh contributions totalling €27 million were made to the Strategic fund for press development, more than doubling the amount of available resources compared to the previous year. In line with a recommendation in the Charon Report to the Minister for Culture and Communication (2015), the French government also established a €5 million fund to support creativity and innovation. Together, the two funds represent more than €30 million in direct public assistance for the online press, a funding level now similar to what was available prior to FINP. Does this constitute an attempt by the government to fill the €20 million gap left by the cessation of FINP activity that was previously directed to the French political and general news media? Naturally, this is not enough to offset the Digital News Innovation Funds’ €50 million per year that must be split amongst the 28 member states of the EU. At the same time, is the Fund to support creativity and innovation a way of avoiding the wholesale adoption of Google services? Deeper research into this topic—outside the scope of this chapter—that incorporates interviews with public and private stakeholders notably, would make it possible to answer such questions. Longer-term research would reveal whether the recent re-emergence of direct State support to the online press is a sign of the returning primacy of public support in this field, or merely a last-ditch response to decisions made by private multinational corporations that control much of the Internet.

References Cariou, C., Lyubareva, I., & Rochelandet, F. (2017). Crowdfunding et qualité de l’information. Le cas de la presse française. Réseaux, 205, 23–56.

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Charon, J.-M. (2015). Presse et numérique. L’invention d’un nouvel écosystème. Rapport à Madame la Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication. http:// www.culture.gouv.fr/Espace-documentation/Rapports/Rapport-CharonPresse-et-numerique-L-invention-d-un-nouvel-ecosysteme. Cour des Comptes. (2018). Rapport annuel public 2018. https://www.ccomptes. fr/fr/publications/le-rapport-public-annuel-2018. Direction du Budget. (2018). Projet de loi de finances pour 2018. Missions Médias, livre et industries culturelles. https://www.performance-publique.budget.gouv. fr/documents-budgetaires/lois-projets-lois-documents-annexes-annee/exercice-2018/projet-loi-finances-2018-mission-medias-livre-industries-culturelles. Goasdoué, G. (2016). Le recours au financement participatif par les médias d’information: levier de communication, travail en soi, idéologie marchande. Questions de communication, 29, 289–306. Guibert, G., Rebillard, F., & Rochelandet, F. (2016). Médias, culture et numérique. Approches socioéconomiques. Paris: Armand Colin. Irep. (2016). Recettes publicitaires des médias 2016. http://www.irep.asso.fr. Irep. (2017). Recettes publicitaires des médias 2017. http://www.irep.asso.fr/ marche-publicitaire-chiffres-annuels.php. Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication. (2016). Presse  – Chiffres et statistiques. http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Thematiques/Presse/Chiffresstatistiques. Nechushtai, E. (2017, August 15). Could Digital Platforms Capture the Media Through Infrastructure? Journalism, Epub ahead of print. https://doi. org/10.1177/1464884917725163. Rebillard, F., & Smyrnaios, N. (2010). Les infomédiaires, au cœur de la filière de l’information en ligne. Le cas de Google, Wikio et Paperblog. Réseaux, 160–161, 164–194. Smyrnaios, N. (2013). Comment comprendre l’accord entre Google et la presse française ? La Revue des médias. https://larevuedesmedias.ina.fr/commentcomprendre-laccord-entre-google-et-la-presse-francaise. Smyrnaios, N. (2015). Google and the Algorithmic Infomediation of News. Media Fields, 10, 1–10. Smyrnaios, N. (2018). Internet Oligopoly: The Corporate Takeover of Our Digital World. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. SPIIL. (2015). Position: Transparence et réorientation des aides. Le Spiil publie un panorama complet des aides à la presse de 2014. http://www.spiil. org/20170606/spiil-publie-un-panorama-complet-aides-presse-de-2014. SPIIL. (2017). L’État en retard d’une révolution industrielle. Panorama des aides à la presse 2016. http://www.spiil.org/20170918/panorama-aides-2016.

CHAPTER 3

French Media: Can Crowdfunding Serve Pluralism? Loïc Ballarini, Emmanuel Marty, and Nikos Smyrnaios

Since the mid-2010s, the news media in France seem to have adopted crowdfunding almost systematically. Whether they are launching a new media title, trying to overcome financial difficulties, diversifying a media offer or looking for regular revenue streams, media entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to the “wisdom of the crowd”. The study presented here by Loïc Ballarini, Emmanuel Marty and Nikos Smyrnaios examines the reasons which led seven French media organizations to conduct 11 crowdfunding campaigns between 2013 and 2016, as well as their methods, and places them within a larger social and historical context starting from the early twentieth century. The press began employing professional journalists and became an industry in its own right inthe last quarter of the nineteenth century and assigned itself the mission of fact-based reporting rather than using opinion-based writing to sway the public. Since then, the issue of the extent to which revenue sources and capital ownership affect content has been brought to the fore. This is what the authors refer to as “the quest for clean money”, or the search for funding that guarantees independent news production in accordance with

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_3

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journalistic ethics. In doing so, they highlight the fact that economic concerns always imply ethical considerations and that solutions can change over time. Indeed, this quest has taken many forms throughout the twentieth century, with the most recent one being crowdfunding. Interviews with journalists who led the campaigns reveal that economic and financial challenges are a constant preoccupation. While crowdfunding may be a new type of financing, the aims are still the same, and as with previous solutions, it also has its limits. Because crowdfunding is not a long-term solution and cannot meet all of a media organization’s needs (even when a successful campaign exceeds initial fundraising expectations), it seems to be used only by niche media or for special ventures, with major mainstream media organizations preferring other options. First Publication Ballarini L., Marty E., Smyrnaios N., 2018. “Médias français: le financement participatif au service du pluralisme ?”, In: Ballarini L., Costantini S., Kaiser M., Matthews J., Rouzé V. (eds.), Financement participatif: les nouveaux territoires du capitalisme, Questions de communication série Actes 38, pp. 107–128. Translated by Teri Jones-Villeneuve (Coup de Puce Expansion)

L. Ballarini (*) Crem (Centre de recherche sur les médiations), University of Lorraine, Metz, France e-mail: [email protected] E. Marty Groupe de recherche sur les enjeux de la communication (GRESEC), Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France e-mail: [email protected] N. Smyrnaios Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherches Appliquées en Sciences Sociales (LERASS), Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France e-mail: [email protected]

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“To be independent, you have to be profitable.” The founders of the online media site Les Jours regularly repeated this phrase at the time of its launch in January 2016.1 “You do not buy a free newspaper, you fund its independence”2 said Le Ravi, a monthly satirical newspaper from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The same message could be found in Mediapart’s slogan during its subscription campaigns: “Only our readers can buy us.”3 For Mediapart, a major player in online news media in France launched in 2008 that has turned a profit since 2011 and had roughly 170,000 paying subscribers as of early 2020,4 as well for the more recent Les Jours, whose future is uncertain, and a number of new or developing media, the key issue of editorial independence is again connected to that of financial independence. The issue is nearly as old as the press itself. But in the early twenty-first century, it has taken on a new dimension that reflects the frequent reliance on crowdfunding and the profuse rhetoric that comes with it. The mid-2000s appear to have kicked off a period of renewal in media business and editorial models in France. This trend then accelerated during the 2010s and was marked by journalists’ desire for editorial control. After the ordinances of 1944 and the movement of editorial associations in the 1960s and 1970s, today’s reliance on crowdfunding seems to be an argument for journalists in their claim for editorial and financial independence. Whether a media company is being launched, developed or saved, the projects all include crowdfunding to raise funds. But beyond the enthusiastic—and even overly optimistic—rhetoric of journalists and the crowdfunding platforms themselves, and at a time when financial difficulties have practically become structural for media industries, it seems necessary to better understand the importance and actual role of crowdfunding in the media, both in economic and editorial terms. 1  This sentence was repeated during the interview with Raphaël Garrigos, journalist and cofounder of Les Jours, on 12 July 2017. 2  In particular here http://www.leravi.org/spip.php?article1945, but the slogan also appears along with calls for donations, in the print newspaper, and on the newspaper’s website and its Facebook page. N.B.: All URLs cited in this article were accessed on 24 June 2018. 3   Especially here, in 2015 https://blogs.mediapart.fr/la-redaction-de-mediapart/ blog/110115/mediapart-seuls-nos-lecteurs-peuvent-nous-acheter, but the slogan has been used since at least 2013 https://blogs.mediapart.fr/la-redaction-de-mediapart/blog/311213/ mediapart-seuls-nos-lecteurs-peuvent-nous-acheter. 4  Plenel, E. 2020. “Mediapart publie ses comptes et résultats 2019”, Mediapart, 10 March 2020, https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edwyplenel/blog/100320/mediapart-publie-ses-compteset-resultats-2019.

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Here we attempt to understand how and why media rely on crowdfunding, in which forms, and what its underlying value is. It also seems necessary to gain insight into the influence of media business models and editorial strategies on the choice and practices of crowdfunding. To do this, examining the history of media financing in France and how money can have a powerful and direct influence on media editorial policies helps shed light on crowdfunding as the result of a desire by journalists to “take back control” of editorial content for their media and better address the ethical imperatives of information dissemination by ensuring a certain level of economic independence. We then outline the specific conditions, which must be more nuanced than rhetoric, by which seven French media companies make use of crowdfunding. These companies’ practices were studied using semi-structured interviews.

Media and Money Since the advent of “informative journalism” in the late nineteenth century—versus the previous dominant “transmission journalism” mainly tied to the politics of the day—French media companies, which had become an industry in their own right, had been striving to develop profitable and stable business models. They were long able to do so, even after the French were no longer (as was the case in 1914) the leading newspaper readers in the world. Having become a product of mass consumption that attracted both investors and advertisers, and having developed audience loyalty strategies (series, games, sponsorships, etc.) and even new events (especially sporting) to fill their columns, the press was soon criticized for its greed and submission to “moneyed interests”. During the inter-war period, a first movement of capitalistic concentration strengthened the influence of industrial companies and financiers on the press and further fed suspicion. Adding to the situation was the involvement of journalists in several politico-financial affairs, which destroyed the credibility of part of the industry, as well as the mixing of journalistic and advertising content (Chupin et al. 2009). Reforms were proposed and found an audience in the French parliament. The Syndicat des journalistes (journalists’ union), founded in 1918 to improve journalism working conditions and bring ethics to the practice,5 published a declaration of journalists’ professional 5  Today known as the Syndicat national des journalistes (French national union of journalists, SNJ), the industry’s leading union organization.

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duties6 that same year that prohibited any collaboration with a non-media company. In 1935, the union was able to obtain a legal status for journalists and the creation of the press card. However, the card, granted annually by a joint commission comprising employees and employers, was never used as a disciplinary measure by a board. Ten years later, after the Second World War, the press industry underwent a profound restructuring following the “Ordinances of 1944” and a series of laws. Collaborationist newspapers were banned and new conditions for authorization for publication were adopted; the press card commission was temporarily replaced by a “purge commission” (“commission d’épuration”) that was to exclude the journalists who had collaborated with the nazis, but which in fact disciplined very few of them (Delporte 2010); and finally, several provisions were enacted to limit the concentration and ensure transparency of media capital so as to guarantee the non-­ lucrative and free nature of newspaper distribution. These measures, which aimed to clear out shady wartime deals, strengthen pluralism and limit the influence of shareholders on editorial offices, were unevenly applied. While many new newspapers were created following the bans and forfeitures, others slipped through the net, such as Robert Hersant, who set up his own press group despite being charged with the crime of “national indignity for acts of collaboration”. Successive plans for a status for press companies, reflecting the ideals that carried the 1944 ordinances, would never come to fruition. However, these ideals found another outlet in the first editorial office associations from the late 1940s (Ruellan 2001, pp.  115–156). At Sud-­ Ouest in 1947, at France-Soir in 1950, at Le Monde in 1951, and at Le Figaro and Ouest-France in 1965, journalists succeeded in earning the right to manage the company and even have an equity stake. The movement quickly spread. The Fédération française des sociétés de journalistes (French federation of journalist associations, FFSJ), founded in 1967, had up to 27 editorial offices as members, and in 1970, the group represented one-fifth of the country’s 10,000 active journalists. But hopes for deeply modified media governance were dashed just as quickly. Employer organizations were opposed to journalists and staff holding shares, even minority stakes, in their 6  The text was revised in 1938 and in 2011 and is now called the Charte d’éthique professionnelle des journalistes (Professional journalistic code of ethics). Texts from 1918 and 1938: http://apcp.p.a.f.unblog.fr/files/2008/11/versions-anterieures-snj-1918-19382.doc. Text from 2011: http://www.snj.fr/spip.php?article1032.

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companies, and were more effective at preventing this since major press groups were already established. Among these organizations’ members was Robert Hersant, who put an end to the movements at Paris-­Normandie and Le Figaro. Despite the considerable impact of the essay “La Presse, le pouvoir et l’argent” (The press, power and money) by Jean Schwœbel, a journalist at Le Monde and FFSJ president, and despite a new plan to create a status for general interest press companies put forward by the FFSJ in 1973, failure was clear. The movement by editorial associations was unable to rally the divided journalist unions to its cause, while politicians were unwilling to risk taking action against employers. The Lindon Commission report (1970), which proposed only granting editorial associations the right to review major decisions by companies (and not decision-making power or the right to be shareholders), was buried. The main candidates in the 1974 French presidential election did not back the FFSJ’s positions. For Denis Ruellan, the editorial association movement—which took place against the backdrop of the 1960s and 1970s, a time marked by anti-­ capitalist and self-governance ideas—led to consideration of changes in journalism at four levels. Because journalists were the centrepiece of a new demand by citizens for a “right to information”, they needed to be considered as separate employees within the press company. This moral responsibility gives them a right to participate in the management of such companies. By creating new conditions to eliminate the potentially corrupting effects of money for information, editorial associations could establish newspapers as a “collective good and responsibility, the result of financial and intellectual capital” (Ruellan 2001, p. 142; our italics). Thus, “the major question that editorial associations were asking was: What is the role of employers and editorial teams in managing media that respect all of their moral promises?” (Ruellan 2001, p. 153). In the 1980s and 1990s, this debate was overshadowed as neoliberalism garnered new focus. Instead of a stake in company management and equity, employee profit-sharing schemes gained traction. It was a singular reduction in the scope of a measure that was not intended to shield a company from capitalism but simply give the illusion of upholding ethical standards by redistributing a few of the fruits of the labour with little value. An example in this shift can be seen with the daily newspaper Libération, where there was a gulf between its founding principles and later changes. At the time of its launch in April 1973, it was based on three fundamental pillars: capital in the hands of its employees, equal salaries and no advertising. This was the key to editorial independence, according to the daily,

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which sought to upend the prevailing media logic. “Libération is not a newspaper produced by journalists for people but a newspaper produced by people with help from journalists” (presentation brochure, 1972, cited by Rimbert 2005, p. 23). However, keeping the daily afloat was not an easy task. It found itself in financial trouble after just one year, and the break with its early Maoism shifted the priorities by placing journalistic competence above the activist engagement. It also opened the door to professionalizing Libération, which, under pressure from the management team, happened by the abandonment of the three aforementioned key elements. In 1981, staff accepted a shareholding scheme, differentiated salaries and the introduction of advertising. The readership was no longer the people showing their support for a different kind of information by the act of buying; instead, a market study showed that it was a well-off, urban and educated public willing to pay for what advertisers were selling. The editorial line moved in tandem with this shift, introducing a new format “that combined political conformism, economic orthodoxy and cultural eccentricity” (Rimbert 2005, p.  45). After giving up 10% of its capital to Communication et Participation, a finance company, in 1983, Libération was first bought by the transport and communication group Chargeurs (1994) and later by banker Édouard de Rothschild (2005). Since 2015, it has been owned by Altice, a telecommunications group that has become a major player in French media. However, it has still been unable to balance its deficits or stop a drop in sales losses that began 30 years ago.7 Le Monde, the leader of the editorial association movement and long the flagbearer for editorial and financial independence, has also fallen into line. It first opened its capital to the Lagardère group in 2005 (16% stake) before coming under the control of the so-called BNP trio—for Pierre Bergé, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse—which is associated with the Spanish media group Prisa under the Le Monde Libre holding company. It was at this time that the Société des rédacteurs du Monde (Le Monde association of editors, SRM) lost its majority stake. An “independence centre” bringing together journalist associations (including SRM), staff and readers from the Le Monde group was created to form a blocking minority. The newspaper’s director cannot be appointed without the approval of at least 60% of the SRM’s members and editorial independence is guaranteed 7  Average daily sales reached their maximum in 1988 at 195,000 copies (Rimbert 2005, p. 36). By 2017, this figure had dropped to 75,000 copies (ACPM, Diffusion France payée [paid distribution in France], http://www.acpm.fr/Support/liberation).

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by a code of ethics. After the most recent recapitalization in autumn 2017, following the death of Pierre Bergé, the independence centre now holds only a quarter of the group’s capital, but maintains its political rights, which enables it to oppose certain capital movements.8 Even if the journalists still enjoy certain conditions of control as safeguards, capital and editorial management have been separated—which is contrary to the aim of the editorial association movement’s ambition. Furthermore, the code of ethics has not prevented various shareholder interventions in the group’s editorial offices: disparagement of journalists, hiring pressure, political firings (Mauduit 2016, pp. 197–262).

“New” Demands After a very active period during the 1960s and 1970s and then a decline in the following decades, the debate on the links between capital and editorial offices in the news media has gained new momentum since the 2010s. While it is no longer led by large editorial offices, it has found a non-negligible echo in the public that can be associated with newfound criticism of the media. This can be seen, for example, in the success of the documentary film Les Nouveaux Chiens de garde9 (The new watchdogs), which calls attention to the relationships between journalistic, political and business elites, or the circulation within numerous activist circles of the graphic Médias français: qui possède quoi?10 (French media: who owns what?). It is now common to hear that “a handful of billionaires control nearly all major 8  The blocking minority set out by the 2010 shareholders’ agreement was replaced in 2017 by a “golden share”, which maintains the political rights of the independence centre, regardless of its stake in the group’s equity. See, for example: “Ce que change le nouvel accord entre les personnels du “Monde” et les actionnaires du groupe”, Le Monde, 27  January 2017, access: https://lemonde.fr/actualite-medias/article/2017/01/27/ce-que-changele-nouvel-accord-entre-les-personnels-du-monde-et-les-actionnaires-dugroupe_5070198_3236.html; and “Groupe Le Monde : évolution du capital et indépendance éditoriale”, Le Monde, 6  October 2017,  access: https://abonnes.lemonde.fr/actualitemedias/article/2017/10/06/groupe-le-monde-evolution-du-capital-et-independance-editoriale_5197080_3236.html. 9  Directed by Gilles Balbastre and Yannick Kergoat. The film, released in 2012, won the César for best documentary the following year. 10  First published in 2007 by Le Plan B, and updated in 2012 for the release of Les Nouveaux chiens de garde, it has regularly been updated since its publication in the December 2016 issue of Le Monde diplomatic on the monthly’s website: https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cartes/PPA.

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national media, written press and audio-visual press companies” (Mauduit 2016, p. 17). Laurent Mauduit, the journalist who cofounded Mediapart and formerly worked for Le Monde, made the ­argument about how a dozen industrial companies took control in his book Main basse sur l’information (Stranglehold on the news, available in French only). More than simple observation, his message is designed to sound the alarm. The book starts with a call to action: “The time has come to rise up against the state of servitude in which the press and all major news, radio and television media find themselves” (Mauduit 2016, p. 15). On the following page, he says, “Never, since the end of the Second World War, has freedom and pluralism of the press been so threatened; never has the public’s right to be informed been so undermined” (Mauduit 2016, p. 16). What is being called into question is not the existence of media groups but rather the fact that they are controlled by other groups whose main activity is not to produce news. When a conflict of interest arises with regard to the company’s capital holdings, it is difficult to imagine that journalistic ethics—which promote the quest for truth, the analysis of complex causes and a separation from influence and manipulation—will be upheld to the highest standards. This longstanding, French trend, illustrated in particular by Dassault, the aviation and defence group that owns Le Figaro, or Bouygues, a construction and public works group that owns TF1, has become more widespread in recent years. Bernard Arnault, the wealthiest individual in France and greatly involved in the luxury industry (LVMH, Sephora, Givenchy), owns the only French economic daily, Les Échos, as well as the daily Le Parisien/ Aujourd’hui en France and Radio Classique. François Pinault, France’s seventh wealthiest individual (Yves Saint-Laurent, Puma, Stade Rennais, among others), owns the weekly news magazine Le Point and L’Agefi financial media group. Patrick Drahi, France’s eighth wealthiest individual through the Altice telecommunications group (SFR, Cablevision), owns the daily Libération, the weekly news magazine L’Express, and the radio and television networks BFM and RMC. Vincent Bolloré, the twelfth wealthiest individual in France, added the television network Canal+ to his empire, which was long involved in plantations, logistics, energy transport and communication (Havas, Dailymotion, Universal). These takeovers had immediate and sometimes brutal effects: redundancies at Libération and L’Express as well as new management and revised pay scales at Canal+, which set off a historic strike at 24-hour news television iTélé (now CNews) in autumn 2016 that ended with nearly 100 (out of 120) journalists leaving the station.

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Once again, at issue is a very superficial understanding of the presence and power of potentially harmful interests within the information-­producing entity itself. Much more complex—but consistent—is the in-­depth analysis of the capitalistic structure of media companies and related political rights. Voting rights are not necessarily proportional to shares held due to complex shareholders’ agreements that govern groups. The authors of a recent report on media ownership in France and Spain emphasize that “The ownership structure of the French media is very complex and not transparent” (Cagé and Godechot 2017, p. 22). To create a complete profile of general news media shareholders (369 print and online publications, 18 television stations and 9 radio stations), the report’s authors measured the number of capital “nodes” (i.e., its fragmentation) as well as the number of “ranks” or steps between the media groups and their final shareholders to identify not only these shareholders but in which economic sector they worked for. When the investigation was complete (on average, the authors were only able to identify 67% of equity shares in the companies, which is problematic in and of itself), it confirmed that media ownership was largely controlled by non-news players, and a majority were in the finance and insurance industries. Here again, the conclusion was that “the risks that these trends carry on media freedom and the French democracy are not to be taken lightly” (Cagé and Godechot, 2017, p. 70). That the organizations that claim to monitor the transparency of public life show so little transparency in their own dealings begs the question of how editorial offices can earn the trust of their readers when it is so difficult to know who owns the media. This question is all the more worrisome given the deep and sustained economic crisis the news media are currently facing. It is more difficult to withstand shareholder pressure when traditional sources of media revenue are falling and threatening their survival. In fewer than 10 years (2008 to 2014), print newspaper circulation has dropped by nearly 40% and advertising revenues have halved. Despite higher selling prices, written press sales have slumped 30%. For the first time in the history of journalism in France, this has led to a continual decline in the number of cardholding journalists since 2009 (Ballarini 2017). Of course, sales and advertising are not the only sources of revenue for news media. Various partnerships, hosting of sport and cultural events, content reselling, training, as well as the publication of legal notices can make up a substantial share of revenue, not to mention the range of state aid they receive. Such aid, which is intended to support the written press, its modernization and innovative projects, is regularly criticized for its

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economic inefficiency as well as for its inability to shore up and develop a dynamic and pluralist media industry (Fontenelle 2014; Cagé 2016). However, many newspapers rely on it for survival and it can account for up to 15% of their turnover. Major fluctuations in aid to online media also show that the state tends to delegate entire blocks to privately held media, namely Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund (Rebillard 2020). The fact that Google’s name appears at this point of the exposé should not come as a surprise. In 25 years, the entire media ecosystem has been upended by the internet, just as the internet has been completely changed by the consolidation of power by the main tech giants (known in France as GAFAM—for Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) (Smyrnaios 2018). Google and Facebook, major players in the sharing and selection of digital content, are infomediaries that are also now involved in news production, training journalists and funding “innovative” projects and even formats that are adapted and integrated into their platforms (Google’s AMP, Facebook’s Instant Articles, live video and capsules). In addition to “structural” constraints that have changed how articles are written to improve their ability to be found by search engines (Sire 2013) and shared on social media—conditions that are constantly evolving based on changes to platform algorithms—there are other more direct and arbitrary influences. For instance, Facebook announced in early 2018 that it wanted to reduce the importance of video and media content in its members’ threads, after having helped (both financially and materially) a certain number of media players produce more videos while imposing ever-evolving production conditions (Becquet 2017).

Ethics and Economics The current media crisis can be explained from two standpoints: economic and ethical. In terms of economics, falling revenue from advertising and sales as well as uncertainty regarding other financing means—especially online—have pushed news media to develop innovative and, where possible, sustainable business models. But this crisis is also an ethical one with regard to the code of ethics in journalism and the role it plays in democracy. The ever-stronger presence of industrial powers defending interests other than free and pluralist news with capital from major media players has led to cases of censure, self-censure and misinformation in which big tech players wield an inordinate amount of power that further adds to the confusion of genres.

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Given this twofold crisis, reliance on crowdfunding has emerged as a seemingly obligatory choice to launch or save a media company, again for both economic and ethical reasons. From an economic viewpoint, it is extremely difficult to finance a new media venture through traditional means such as banks or private investment. In terms of ethics, crowdfunding, which makes it possible to escape advertising and reconnect with readers through a stake that is not just emotional but also financial, is often presented as a way for an editorial office to claim editorial independence. Does crowdfunding truly address both sides of the media’s economic and ethics crisis? How can the practice create new conditions to ensure the age-old claim of financial and editorial independence for media within the previously described context? To understand the mutual ties between business models and editorial strategies, we conducted this research based on semi-structured interviews of seven French news media organizations (print and online) which ran 11 crowdfunding campaigns between 2013 and 2016.11 While this study cannot claim to be exhaustive, it is based on the choice to observe several dozen campaigns run by stakeholders involved in very different ventures. Between free access and hard paywalls requiring a paid subscription, media set up as an association, large regional dailies and national web media, print newspapers refusing help from crowdfunding platforms and pure play companies whose creation was possible thanks to crowdfunding support, the profiles described here appear to be emblematic of the various possible options stakeholders can choose from. They were selected to enable us to adequately identify the various economic and editorial interests at play by observing a certain number of similarities or specific factors in the choices made by the different media (Fig. 3.1). In our corpus there are four pure play companies and three newspapers with a website. The largest media company in terms of budget and journalists is Nice Matin. The daily newspaper, which is based in Nice and whose circulation was around 80,000 copies a day in March 2017,12 is also the one with the most traditional business model. Its revenue comes from newspaper sales and subscriptions as well as advertising and state aid. Le Ravi, a monthly satirical newspaper based in Marseille selling around 5000 copies, has a much more modest business model. Its sales and subscriptions are rounded off by a small amount of advertising and other  The interviews were conducted in 2016 and 2017.  Unless otherwise noted, this is the date used for sales figures or financial results given in the text. 11 12

3  FRENCH MEDIA: CAN CROWDFUNDING SERVE PLURALISM? 

Media

Type / Permanent team

Access / Business model

Date / Platform

Marsactu

Pure play company 6 journalists

Paid / Subscription

2015 / Ulule

Basta !

Pure play company 7 journalists

Free / Crowdfunding and subsidies

Orient XXI

Pure play company 1 journalist

Les Jours (1)

Pure play company 13 journalists

%

Objective

€44,340

180%

Liquidation, bought back by the journalists, shift from free to paid access

Each year / Own site

€60 to 150,000 / year

100%

Crowdfunding as a regular resource

Free / Crowdfunding

Each year / Own site

€45,000 (in 3 instalments)

100%

Crowdfunding as a regular resource

Paid / Subscription

2015 / KissKissBankBank

€80,175

160%

Launch: subscriber base + website development

2016 / Anaxago

€750,000

100%

Opening up of capital

Paid / Sales, subscription, advertising

2014 / Ulule

€376,275

125%

Bankruptcy, bought back by the journalists

Paid / Subscription

2015 / Ulule

620 presales

124%

New online offer

Paid / Sales, subscription, advertising

2013 / Own site

€38,000

N/A

Call for support from readers

Les Jours (2)

Nice Matin (1)

Print and web 300 journalists

Nice Matin (2)

Le Ravi (1)

Print and web 5 journalists

Funds raised

Receivership, reach

Around 800 Le Ravi (2)

2015 /

subscriptions +

Own site

undisclosed

a sufficient number N/A

La Revue dessinée (2)

Print and web 1 journalist

of paid subscriptions

donations

La Revue dessinée (1)

31

Paid / Sales, subscriptions

2013 / Ulule

€39,017

175%

Launch: subscription base

Paid / Sales, subscriptions

2016 / Ulule

€26,319

175%

Launch of a new magazine, Topo: subscription base

Fig. 3.1  Analysed crowdfunding campaigns (authors’ work)

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activities such as journalistic writing workshops. La Revue Dessinée is part of the “mook” (a portmanteau of magazine and book) category, which over the past decade have put a focus on reportages and long formats (Alves and Stein 2017). This quarterly, dedicated exclusively to reportages on comics with sales of 16,500 copies, is financed only by its readers and features no advertising. The pure play companies are split between two types of access. Basta !, dedicated to social and environmental news (500,000 unique visitors per month), and Orient XXI, which covers the Middle East (200,000), made the choice to offer free access without advertising. Les Jours, whose style is a combination of literary journalism divided into episodes in a format inspired by television series, is only available by paid subscription (8000 subscribers), as is Marsactu, which focuses on news from the Marseille region (1400 subscribers).

A (Relatively) Vital Issue What these media have in common is economic weakness, and crowdfunding appeared at a point in their history as a necessary recourse—at least for their first campaign. When looking at later campaigns by the same media companies, the four categories of crowdfunding identified by Guillaume Goasdoué (2017) can be found: rescue, creation, diversification and “bit-by-bit”. Three media companies, at risk of going out of business in a short period of time, chose crowdfunding as a way to rescue the venture. The first was Nice Matin, which was placed under receivership in 2014 and bought back by its journalists thanks to what became at the time the largest crowdfunding campaign ever for a French media company (€376,000). The same year, Marsactu went through liquidation proceedings. After buying back the intangible business assets, the employees launched a crowdfunding campaign to relaunch the site and raised €44,000. Le Ravi went through a two-step process: in 2013, the newspaper launched a call for support from its readers. Between donations and subscriptions, it raised €38,000. However, it was not enough to save the company, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2014. This time, the company sought more subscriptions, and Le Ravi was able to double the figure to reach 1560 subscribers in 2015. Two media companies were launched with the support of a crowdfunding campaign. First, La Revue dessinée, which created its subscriber

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base through the Ulule crowdfunding platform and raised €39,000. In 2015, Les Jours was also looking for subscribers for its launch, as well as funds to develop its website. Its campaign, hosted by KissKissBankBank, the other major crowdfunding platform in France, helped the company bring in €80,000. Three of the campaigns were looking to diversify their media activities and were able to do so after an initial rescue or launch campaign. Once back on track and a year after it was bought back, Nice Matin began developing a new web offer, accessible by subscription and showcasing solutions journalism. The newspaper gained 620 subscribers. In 2016, following an enthusiastic reception and being in the black from the outset, La Revue dessinée launched a second magazine, Topo, based on the same principle of comic news but targeted to teenagers. The fortnightly publication featured a smaller format, with 144 pages instead of 228. The crowdfunding campaign raised €26,000 for the project. The third case of diversification only fits into this category if we extend the meaning to financial instead of solely editorial diversification. Les Jours did not intend to create a new section or publication channel, but rather to open its capital to investors other than its founders. It was the first case of equity crowdfunding—and to this day the only one to our knowledge— by a news media company and was conducted through the specialized platform Anaxago. Les Jours was able to raise €750,000 without the founders losing control of the company. Finally, two media companies opted for the poorly named “bit-by-bit” approach. According to Guillaume Goasdoué, this method “involves regularly relying on crowdfunding. The mechanism is structural and is intended to be repeated” (Goasdoué 2017, §18). It would be more relevant to talk about regular or recurring campaigns. This would better describe the choices made by Basta ! and Orient XXI, which hold yearly campaigns to finance their activities. Because access to these sites is free, the money raised is considered to be donations, without any compensation other than the tax deduction. Orient XXI collects occasional donations while Basta ! has also created a recurring donation system. Is money the main motivation for using crowdfunding? “We absolutely had to get funding”, said Clémentine Vaysse, journalist and president of SAS Marsactu.13 However, this was only the second factor she cited; the first was not financial, but rather editorial. “Running a crowdfunding  Interview by the authors, 29 June 2016.

13

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campaign meant attempting to validate the project: are there people in Marseille who are truly ready to subscribe to an independent media company that was focused on investigation, reportage and analytical content? That was the first factor and it was about creating energy.” Therein lies an initial ambiguity of crowdfunding. Although it is often viewed and presented as vital to a project’s success, it is just as—if not more—important to creating a dynamic as it is a strict economic need. It would be difficult for it to be any other way when the overall costs of launching or acquiring a media company are considered. The journalists from Nice Matin had set a target of €300,000 for their crowdfunding campaign. Although they exceeded their goal by €76,000, “the overall plan to buy back the newspaper was not €300,000—it was €15 million, so that was practically nothing”, explained Damien Allemand, journalist and now the group’s digital manager.14 What counted most was that “it carried weight with the commercial court”, which favoured the journalists’ offer to that from the Belgian Rossel group, which also included plans for twice as many redundancies. Previously, it was Bernard Tapie, owner of the newspaper La Provence, who had pulled his own offer off the table to join that of the employees. The Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur regional council and the Nice city hall then also lent their support, with funding from the council and in principle from the city hall. While the crowdfunding campaign did not raise the necessary funds for the operation, it nevertheless showed that the project enjoyed “popular support”. “Most of all, it helped get the word out about the project because when we launched the crowdfunding campaign, there were articles in Le Monde and Libération, and the week after the Ministry of Culture called us, and we met with them in their office.” Les Jours had a similar experience. Although it had well surpassed its initial objective of €50,000, it had nowhere near the one million euros the founders estimated was needed to finance the media’s first 18  months. The campaign did not claim to be anything more: “By participating in this campaign, you will become a founding subscriber of Les Jours. You are helping support the technical creation of our website and launch our first investigations.”15 For the remainder, other resources were envisaged. The presentation page for the campaign also indicated that funding for Les Jours relied on three pillars: “Its founders, because a newspaper must be  Interview by the authors, 29 June 2016.  Site of the campaign “Les Jours se lèvent avec vous” (Les Jours stands with you), https:// www.kisskissbankbank.com/fr/projects/les-jours-se-levent-avec-vous. 14 15

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controlled by its journalists. Its readers, because a newspaper that endures thanks to its readers is independent. Investors, because Les Jours is an ambitious project.” At La Revue dessinée, “what we wanted was to have a small base of subscribers, because it was a campaign for pre-subscription and to gauge readers’ interest”, explained Sylvain Ricard, comic-strip author and cofounder and director of the magazine’s editorial office.16 The company also lacked funds. “We started with €185,000, which was half what we needed.” The €39,000 raised accounted for “450 subscribers, and the rest came from those who bought the first issue”. Readers needed to be won over very quickly—it was a chance to reiterate that, even when the financial and promotional aspects of a crowdfunding campaign are successful (target exceeded, significant and positive media reception), they cannot fully support the venture over the long term. Survival depends on many other factors: the quality of the content and how well the promise and final product align, public engagement, personal investment of the project leaders, etc. Thus, among the nine cofounders of Les Jours, eight were former journalists from Libération who left following its acquisition by Patrick Drahi in 2014. The design and launch phase of Les Jours, as well as the capital provided by the founders, were financed by their severance packages. At La Revue dessinée, the two cofounders Sylvain Ricard and Franck Bourgeron did not pay themselves a salary the first year. “After that, we earned minimum wage, and now we’re at 2000 [euros gross]. In four years we probably earned €50,000, it’s ridiculous.” At Le Ravi, all employees started with state-subsidized contracts before being brought on permanently. Even when crowdfunding is chosen as a recurring revenue-raising source, it is (still) not enough to cover a media company’s basic financing needs. Basta ! was created and developed thanks to private and public subsidies. The initial plan was to maintain this model, but for Ivan du Roy, journalist, founder, and administrative and editorial coordinator, the limit was that “you get into a vicious cycle—to maintain your business, you have to present more and more projects. […] You have to create something new all the time just to maintain what you’re doing. At a certain point, it becomes untenable, three people with 15 projects underway to meet your budget for the year.”17 Services for associations or for other media that had once been planned were not fully developed for similar  Interview by the authors, 12 July 2017.  Interview by the authors, 28 January 2016.

16 17

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reasons. “The more services you offer, the less journalism you do. You spend your time working on other people’s sites.” This is all the more true given that the model of providing additional services to support journalism has not proven to be economically viable, as with Rue89 and Owni (Smyrnaios 2013). Donation collection, which had been in place since 2008 but was not promoted and therefore brought in very little (“€3000 to €4000 a year”), became the main objective for Basta ! in 2012. In 2016, €125,000 in donations was raised, making up just over a third of the newspaper’s turnover. The rest came from foundations (36%), public funds and press aid (24%), and services (6%).18

More Participatory Editorial Offices? The interviews conducted for this research confirm a general and now well-established observation regarding crowdfunding: its importance, and at times its motivations, is not limited to financial factors, which may even be secondary. This was the case, for instance, with the launch of the fortnightly general interest magazine Society in 2015. It is hard to find a more symbolic example: the €6315 target for the crowdfunding campaign represented the release date of the first issue, 6 March 2015. The overall investment to create the magazine was €1.4 million, half of which came from a loan and the other half from private investors. The campaign was intended only to make pre-subscriptions more visible. For Franck Annese, editor-in-chief and director of the publication, it was “one part of our communication strategy”.19 The fact that it raised €50,000 was a (pleasant) surprise. The launch of Society was helped by So Press, a company that had been well established—and profitable—for more than 10 years with its So Foot and So Film magazines. The role of Society’s “founding subscribers” stopped there: a show of support. In addition to receiving their subscriptions, donors’ names could be listed in the first issue (for €40, first tier) or on a plaque hung on the editorial office’s wall (for €999, top tier), or “an invitation to an editorial conference and a secret ping-pong tournament at the editorial office” (for €99). The promises were both classic and distinctive for a newspaper that

 Source: « L’économie du projet », https://www.bastamag.net/L-economie-du-projet.  La Correspondance de la Presse, 20 February 2015.

18 19

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presented itself as nothing more than the “best magazine in the world”.20 The approach was perfectly suited to the constraints and formats of crowdfunding platforms, now seen as one of many multi-format fundraising and marketing tools (Carvajal et  al. 2012; Rouzé 2019). However, nothing indicated a desire to associate the readers with the media company’s operations. The perspective is different for the media from our corpus. In one way or another, they all state a particular focus on their readership, confirming the traditional observation that crowdfunding implies a closer, more direct relationship between readers and editorial offices (Aitamurto 2011). Le Ravi had very few means and offered nothing in return during its crowdfunding campaigns, which were hosted on its own website and called “Couscous Bang Bang” in 2013 and “Couscous Bang Bang Royal” in 2015, an allusion to the crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank in line with the newspaper’s satirical identity. After the 2013 campaign, what started as a joke became reality: “We hosted a real couscous dinner for donors and subscribers”, explained journalist Jean-François Poupelin.21 The evening event brought together “around a hundred people” in a community venue of one of the journal’s partners, and the meal was cooked by the journalists and volunteers. The anecdote was quite telling with regard to the relationship that Le Ravi was looking to create. The newspaper, which is published by La Tchatche, an association created under the French Act of 1901, hosts neighbourhood media education activities, namely through extra-curricular writing workshops with the aim of getting local youth to participate in media coverage of where they live and their daily lives. “There is a genuine journalistic effort provided by the participants […]. Beyond the revenue this brings in, it makes sense at the editorial level,” and there is a desire “for this to be much more regular and be part of the newspaper’s content”. Orient XXI was also created under the association status and regularly holds conferences and other events either on its own or with partners. It makes no revenue from such activities, but they help it maintain a closer relationship with its readers. According to journalist and founder of the newspaper Alain Gresh, the choice to offer free website access is part of the same approach. “Beyond specialists, journalists and diplomats, in France 20   Project presentation page: https://www.kisskissbankbank.com/fr/projects/societyabonne-fondateur. 21  Interview by the authors, 13 July 2016.

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there are a lot of people who are interested in the region, sometimes for reasons of family heritage […]. If we created a paid subscription model, we would lose this readership.” At Nice Matin, it was the public that helped save the newspaper. The following year, when the new website was launched with a subscriber-only section, two choices were made: from an editorial standpoint, to promote solutions journalism; and “for the rest, we focused on Nice Matin subscribers, who formed a community—we took care of them, pampered them, shared events with them, invited them to concerts, offered them gifts” (Damien Allemand). But that was not all: through their votes, subscribers chose certain themes for solutions journalism investigations and were asked to contribute their contacts and ideas. Moreover, a portion of the subscription revenue was allocated to other projects asking for crowdfunding. Again, it was subscribers’ votes that guided the budget and determined the final projects from those that had been previously selected by the editorial office. Ideas may also be solicited through the structure of the editorial offer, such as at Marsactu, which supported the relaunch of its website with the creation of “L’Agora,” a blog platform operating alongside the editorial content. As Clémentine Vaysse explained, “L’Agora came about mainly from what we read in comments” on articles that suggested various ideas. “At the local level, blogging was not widely developed and we identified people who were publishing on a regular basis [but] there were no comments, very little interaction, and there was all of this interesting writing— whether from the manager of an association, a researcher, an anonymous local—and it wasn’t coming together.” Uniting these voices was a consistent choice because “since its creation, Marsactu wanted the comments to be a real forum for debate”. Journalists moderate the comments once posted and participate in the discussions. For the other media, the comments issue was separate from the potentially participatory aspects. Nice Matin stopped allowing comments on its site because moderating was too costly (“€3000 per month”) for a disappointing result. The journalists did not answer the comments published on social media unless they were directly mentioned.22 At Les Jours, the choice was made from the start to not have comments at all, and it generated neither surprise nor opposition. However, reader engagement was a topic of discussion for the editorial office. As Raphaël Garrigos explained, 22  For a study of online news content moderation related to information pluralism, refer to Smyrnaios and Marty (2020).

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“We still haven’t found a satisfactory way to replace the comments, but we could encourage people to write to us. […] For a while, we considered doing comments using Quartz, where you can underline phrases and comment, but subscribers weren’t really looking for online interactions like that.”

Depending on Readers Les Jours sought to create a more structural connection with its readers. Its 2016 equity crowdfunding campaign was intended to open up its capital. However, even having convinced the Anaxago platform to drop the entry-­ level investment from €2000 to €1000, “many subscribers wrote to us to say it was too high”. In spring 2017, Les Jours announced the creation of its Société des amis (friends’ association) to take an equity share. One month after the launch, Raphaël Garrigos said, “The entry level investment is €200, which is much more accessible. Our subscribers can become shareholders at a much lower cost, it’s starting off very well. Eventually I would like to operate solely […] on subscriptions and backing from the Société des amis.” Meanwhile, other shareholders have contributed equity, but they all accepted an agreement guaranteeing that the nine founders would maintain control of the company—the first in France to have chosen the new statute of a social news company introduced by the French Act of 17 April 2015 and which requires at least 70% of profits to be reinvested. The media studied here were attempting to keep control of the company’s management and media direction, take ownership of the journalistic choices and maintain a relationship with their readership, whether or not those goals were explicitly stated. “In any case”, said Sylvain Ricard from La Revue dessinée, “the day when Franck [Bourgeron, cofounder and director of the publication] and I are no longer majority shareholders, we’ll leave. What we want is to have our say on the choice of subjects, authors, whether or not we allow advertising.” While the success of a media organization depends in large part on its consistency, that is, ensuring that its promise to readers and the editorial line in terms of content produced by the media align (Ringoot 2004), journalists may feel obliged to demand a key role in defining and implementing that promise. For Ivan du Roy from Basta !, the aim is to ensure the operating conditions that make it possible to be “an engaged and honest journalist” defending a political vision of the environment, rather than other “media that talk

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about the environment as a depoliticized, naive and individual approach”. The solution? “We do that internally. We have pinpointed our readership—they are engaged readers who want a free media that they can share themselves […], an independent media that does not belong to a large group or a bank.” This desire to offer a strong editorial identity, to forge close symbolic ties with readers, can happen through highly varied methods. For example, a media company might “set itself apart with subjects that are not widely covered”, which is the approach adopted by Les Jours, or to hold “a point of view of the Middle East” that is not “a simplistic vision of the Arab world nor of Islam” as is the case of Orient XXI. What these different editorial policies have in common is that they only appear feasible if the financial independence of their editorial offices and journalists is ensured.

On a Quest for “Clean Money” Raphaël Garrigos, from Les Jours, still maintains that “to be independent, you have to be profitable”. While this phrase is echoed in numerous ventures today, it is also related to an issue whose history should be noted. At the centre of the debate of editorial associations in the late 1960s, journalist Philippe Boegner said “an independent press, independent journalists depend on a pluralism that cannot exist without prosperity” (Boegner 1969, p. 114, cited by Ruellan 2001, p. 149). A media company needs money to survive, but not just any money. It needs what can be called “clean money” that is guaranteed to not impact freedom of the press or journalists’ investigative efforts. However, an ambitious editorial venture often requires significant investments, for which certain media developers, such as Les Jours, decide to call on financial backers whose attraction for the press is to make a name for themselves, without necessarily revealing their precise motivations. One day we held an event where Daniel Schneidermann was there and he asked us why we had contacted Xavier Niel [Iliad telecommunications group] and Matthieu Pigasse [an investment banker]. The answer was simple: when we did KissKissBankBank we had 1500 donors and subscribers; when he did Arrêts sur image [a former French media criticism television programme that Schneidermann turned into an independent website when he was dismissed from the channel he worked for] he had 45,000 I think. If he had had to start out with 1500 people, he would have needed money

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too, and the issue of influence did not even come up for us. (Raphaël Garrigos, Les Jours)

In fact, the issue is resolved by the shareholders’ agreement. The founding partners retain a very large majority share of the capital of Les Jours: the financial contribution of external shareholders cannot give them a decision-­making role in the life of the company. For Basta !, which still receives more than a quarter of its funding from public aid, regional subsidies—today limited to employment aid, as is the case for foundations (one-third of their budgets)—have “never” led to “editorial pressure”. Private and public entities face the same battle. In its 1944 programme, the French National Council of the Resistance was already promoting freedom of the press to ensure “its honour and independence with regard to the State, moneyed interests and foreign influences”.23 The aim was to put an end to the “abominable greed” of the French press during the inter-war years. Since the 1920s, the essential problem remained the same according to historian Marc Martin. “The real issue is knowing whether it’s possible to successfully operate a newspaper in a free enterprise economy without subsidies making up part of the capital” (Martin 2006). La Revue dessinée, which has operated with a narrow profit margin since its launch, appears to show that it is indeed possible. Nice Matin announced a profitable bottom line in 2018 at the same time as other diversifications (festivals, children’s media).24 Les Jours, which closed out spring 2018 with a new round of fundraising totalling €310,000,25 ran a subscription campaign to balance its books. With an existing subscriber base of 10,000, the newspaper needed an additional 5000 subscribers to break even.26 However, this time the company did not turn to crowdfunding; instead, the campaign was held through their website and communicated via its newsletter, social media accounts and more traditional media outlets. Orient XXI has a balanced budget which it manages thanks to volunteer efforts from a large part of its team (only journalists in need and those in

23  Access: https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Programme_du_Conseil_national_de_la_R%C3% A9sistance. 24  “Nice-Matin, bientôt bénéficiaire, joue la carte musicale avec deux festivals”, AFP, 15 May 2018. 25  “Du beau monde investit dans Les Jours”, La Lettre A, 4 May 2018. The nine founders maintain a 74% stake. 26  Access: https://lesjours.fr/objectif-5000.

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Arab countries are paid for their work). Le Ravi, Marsactu and Basta ! continue to be in a precarious position. For these media, crowdfunding has clearly been a way—even if revamped and not entirely new (crowdfunding platforms have been around for ten years, but the practice of subscription campaigns, especially in the press, is much older)—to address this age-old question of relations between the business world and the media, between financial and capitalistic (in)dependence and editorial (in)dependence. There is neither a single recipe nor guaranteed success in these approaches, which are sometimes part of more elaborate theoretical proposals (Cagé 2016) that have never been fully tested due to the lack of an appropriate legal framework. Given this shifting context, crowdfunding can appear, under certain conditions, to be a way to safeguard or even expand information pluralism (Rebillard and Loicq 2013), although with clear limits. First, crowdfunding alone does not address the issue of covering total funding for news media, which must find other resources, with a preference shown for their readership or public and private stakeholders explicitly accepting to not benefit in terms of management or editorial control. In return, tax deductions are generally allowed in certain cases. Media that are financed in this way remain niche or supplemental media—an exception is Nice Matin, but its journalists lost the control of the company and sold their shares in early 2020.27 For the so-called “mainstream media”—those which continue to have an influence on public debate and, for some, such as Le Monde and Le Figaro, spearheaded the editorial association movement—this does not seem to be an issue. And yet, “those adhering to a liberal and competitive system” (Martin 2006) in which the freedom of the media comes after business secrecy must not forget that behind the illusory promises of “participation” (Rouzé 2017) hide powerful interests.

References Aitamurto, T. (2011). The Impact of Crowdfunding on Journalism. Journalism Practice, 5(4), 429–445. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2010.551018. Alves, A., & Stein, M. (2017). Les mooks. Espaces de renouveau du journalisme littéraire. Paris: L’Harmattan. 27  “Nice-Matin passe sous le contrôle total de Xavier Niel”, Le Monde, 13 February 2020, access: https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2020/02/13/nice-matin-passe-souslecontrole-total-de-xavier-niel_6029430_3234.html.

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Ballarini, L. (2017). Médias en crise, journalisme en réinvention. Mediadoc, 19, 40–47. http://www.apden.org/Medias-en-crise-journalisme-en.htm. Becquet, N. (2017). Facebook a versé des millions aux médias français: la stratégie “VIP-VRP” et ses effets. European Journalism Observatory, 14 novembre, https://fr.ejo.ch/economie-medias/facebook-remuneration-medias-francaislive-video. Boegner, P. (1969). Presse, argent, liberté. Le journaliste face au capital et à la publicité. Paris: Fayard. Cagé, J. (2016). Saving the Media. Capitalism, Crowdfunding, and Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cagé, J., & Godechot, O. (2017). Who Owns the Media? Paris: SciencesPo/ Reporters Sans Frontières. https://www.sciencespo.fr/liepp/fr/content/quipossede-les-medias-une-analyse-de-lactionnariat-des-medias. Carvajal, M., García-Avilés, J. A., & González, J. L. (2012). Crowdfunding and Non-profit Media. The Emergence of New Models for Public Interest Journalism. Journalism Practice, 6(5–6), 638–647. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 17512786.2012.667267. Chupin, I., Hubé, N., & Kaciaf, N. (2009). Histoire politique et économique des médias en France. Paris: La Découverte. Delporte, C. (2010). La justice professionnelle  en 1945: le journaliste face à la commission d’épuration. Le Temps des médias, 15(2), 293–296. https://doi. org/10.3917/tdm.015.0293. Fontenelle, S. (2014). Éditocrates sous perfusion. Les aides publiques à la presse, trente ans de gabegie. Paris: Libertalia. Goasdoué, G. (2017). Analyse sociologique et économique du financement participatif. Ressorts et critiques dans le cas du journalisme (2010–2015). tic&société, 10(2–3). https://doi.org/10.4000/ticetsociete.2154. Lindon, R. (1970). Rapport sur les problèmes posés par les sociétés de rédacteurs. Paris: La Documentation française. Martin, M. (2006). Retour sur « l’abominable vénalité de la presse française ». Le Temps des médias, 6(1), 22–33. https://doi.org/10.3917/tdm.006.0022. Mauduit, L. (2016). Main basse sur l’information. Paris: Don Quichotte Éditions. Rebillard, F. (2020). Funding Print and Online News Media in France: Developments and Challenges. In L.  Ballarini (Ed.), The Independence of the News Media: Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics (pp. 7–17). Palgrave Macmillan. Rebillard, F., & Loicq, M. (2013). Pluralisme de l’information et media diversity. Un état des lieux international. Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: De Boeck Supérieur. https://doi.org/10.3917/dbu.loicq.2013.01. Rimbert, P. (2005). Libération de Sartre à Rotschild. Paris: Raisons d’agir.

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Ringoot, R. (2004). Discours journalistique: analyser le discours de presse au prisme de la ligne éditoriale. In R. Ringoot & R. Robert-Demontrond (Eds.), L’Analyse de discours. Rennes: Editions Apogee. Rouzé, V. (2017). Participatif. Publictionnaire, Dictionnaire encyclopédique et critique des publics. http://publictionnaire.huma-num.fr/notice/participatif/. Rouzé, V. (2019). Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding: The Origins of a New System?. In V.  Rouze (Ed.), Cultural Crowdfunding: Platform Capitalism, Labour and Globalization (pp.  15–33). London: University of Westminster Press. https://doi.org/10.16997/book38.b. License: CC‐BY‐NC‐ND 4.0. Ruellan, D. (2001). Nous, journalistes. In Déontologie et identité. Grenoble, France: Presses universitaires de Grenoble. Sire, G. (2013). La production journalistique et Google: chercher à ce que l’information soit trouvée. PhD thesis, Université Panthéon-Assas. https:// www.theses.fr/2013PA020040/document. Smyrnaios, N. (2013). Les pure players entre diversité journalistique et contrainte économique: les cas d’Owni, Rue89 et Arrêt sur images. Recherches en communication, 39, 133–150. Smyrnaios, N. (2018). Internet Oligopoly: The Corporate Takeover of Our Digital World. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Smyrnaios, N., & Marty, E. (2020). Occupation: “Net Cleaner”. The Socio-­ economic Issues of Comment Moderation on French News Websites. In L. Ballarini (Ed.), The Independence of the News Media: Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics (pp. 103–131). Palgrave Macmillan.

CHAPTER 4

Crowdfunding: Does It Make a Significant Contribution to Community and Independent Media in Quebec? Anne-Marie Brunelle and Michel Sénécal

In this chapter, which is a counterpoint to the two previous ones, Anne-Marie Brunelle and Michel Sénécal analyse how Quebec’s community and independent media use crowdfunding, or do not. Unlike in France, even though the media are facing a similar economic crisis, there are very few people in Quebec who have conducted crowdfunding campaigns. It comes as no surprise that the major public or private media do not do so. But it is more surprising for the community and independent media, which are the subject of this study. This is because “participation” is a fundamental part of their definition and history, both in their operating rules and in their financing, as well as in the discourse they produce or stimulate. To understand this apparent paradox, it is necessary to have another look at the way in which the financing of these media is structured, and at the way in which they use the four main categories of resources identified by the authors: public, private, autonomous and

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_4

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participatory financing. It then appears that crowdfunding is only one type of financing among others. And if it has not had the same success in Quebec, it is because other methods of financing, which can also be described as participatory, have already existed for a long time. In media that have historically been built around a geographically defined community, an exploratory study shows that proven fundraising structures have been developed over time. Even if they do not always guarantee the sustainability of the media (crowdfunding would not guarantee it more), they work and could not easily be replaced by crowdfunding campaigns, especially in a context of economic crisis in which it is not easy to invest the time and energy required for crowdfunding. And when such a campaign is carried out, it becomes clear that the participants are already part of the traditional donor network. So, while crowdfunding may therefore appear to be a complement, it is only worthwhile if it brings a real advantage in a given context. First publication Brunelle A.-M., Sénécal M., 2018. “Financement participatif: un apport significatif pour les médias associatifs et indépendants québécois ?”, In: Ballarini L., Costantini S., Kaiser M., Matthews J., Rouzé V. (eds.), Financement participatif: les nouveaux territoires du capitalisme, Questions de communication série Actes 38, pp. 129–145. Translated by Ian Margo (Coup de Puce Expansion)

The cultural and media ecosystem in Canada in general and Quebec in particular has always had to struggle to keep its production and distribution structures alive, since its audiences have increasingly been tempted over time by innumerable creations from local and foreign sources. This state of affairs has intensified over the past two decades with the rise of digital distribution methods in addition to traditional channels for the

A.-M. Brunelle UQAM-CRICIS, Montréal, QC, Canada M. Sénécal (*) TÉLUQ-CRICIS, Montréal, QC, Canada

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circulation and consumption of cultural and media products, whether they be radio and terrestrial, cable or satellite television, cinemas or theatres, video clubs, bookstores or libraries, etc. Because of the unique situation of Canada and Quebec in North America, especially given the commercial ambitions of its southern neighbour, the State very early saw fit to support this ecosystem (Raboy 1996; Sénécal 1995). On the one hand, it set up a political and legal framework which, by protecting Canadian property, supported production for the purpose of protecting its cultural and linguistic sovereignty (including the defence of the French language in Quebec). On the other hand, it adopted strategies to support cultural (audio-visual, musical, artistic, etc.) and media production through federal or provincial, public and parapublic organizations, as evidenced by public funding for community or indigenous media and the establishment of a pan-Canadian media network for public broadcasting (Radio-Canada) and educational television in Quebec (Télé-Québec). As national territorial boundaries started to become more porous due in part to digital networks, and as states redefined the nature and extent of the ways they could intervene, new ways of financing cultural and media production emerged on the local, national and international scenes. This context has given rise to crowdfunding or participatory financing which, benefiting from the surge of the collaborative web (Bouquillion and Matthews 2010) and the culture of participation (Proulx et al. 2014), is growing to varying degrees in the cultural and media sectors in general. Although they have their own specificities, these areas, which are particularly subject to uncertainty, entail significant initial costs with a problematic return on investment (Ménard 2004; Miège 2000) and, in order to survive, have always relied mainly on funds to support creation, whether from government financing, patronage, philanthropic actions (donations from private companies, individuals, etc.) or even advertising revenues. Moreover, the cultural and media sectors each have their own respective underlying logic, even though they overlap, just like the sources of financing on which they rely. In a period of budget cuts and crisis in the largely advertising-based media business model, not all creators (and therefore creators’ organizations) have the same capacity to obtain the public funding or private sponsorship necessary to sustain their activities. They then turn to other sources, sometimes depicted as being more easily accessible, such as crowdfunding, because supposedly there would be, particularly in the audio-visual production sector, “a general consensus among stakeholders, that crowdfunding represents an irresistible opportunity to take advantage

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of an alternative financing solution and that there is a demand for crowdfunding among content creators” (Fonds des Médias du Canada [Canada Media Fund] 2012, p. 21).

Unclear and Conflicting Definitions Howe (2006) was one of the first to evoke the concept of crowdsourcing, a neologism, made from the contraction of crowd and sourcing, referring to the process of outsourcing to the “crowd”. The concept was then defined more specifically by Lebraty (2009, p. 151) as “the outsourcing by an organisation via a website, of an activity to a large number of individuals whose identity is most often anonymous”. According to Howe (2008), crowdsourcing occurs mainly in four forms that can be combined (1) crowdvoting, by gathering the opinions of the crowd; (2) crowdwisdom, by using the intelligence of the crowd implicit in the idea of the wisdom of the crowd (Surowiecki 2008) or that of collective intelligence (Lévy 1994); (3) crowdcreation, placing the creativity of the crowd at the centre of the production process as a source of innovation, referring for example to open innovation (Chesbrough 2003, 2007) or to that centred on the user (von Hippel 1988); (4) crowdfunding, trying to get financial contributions from a wide range of individuals. Defined in this way, crowdfunding is one of the specific modalities involved in crowdsourcing. However, this assertion remains controversial for several authors who do not find all of the characteristics of crowdsourcing in crowdfunding (Pénin et  al. 2013). For example, for Brabham (2013), crowdfunders would have no say in the future of the collectively funded project. Also, a distinction is often made from the outset between collaborative production and crowdfunding in most current definitions of the phenomenon (Howe 2008, Belleflamme et  al. 2014, Estellés-Arolas and GonzalesLadrón-de-Guevara 2012). Matthews, Rouzé and Vachet summarize crowdfunding more precisely as follows: “As the prefix crowd suggests, these concepts suggest the existence of ‘crowds’ of Internet users, united through general web platforms […], collectively undertaking stages in the production chain of goods and services: financing, design, publishing, promotion, distribution, etc. These platforms would thus allow the outsourcing of activities formerly undertaken within companies in this sector; their objective would be to optimise these forms of collective work and financing, so as to occupy ‘grey areas’ abandoned by industrial or institutional stakeholders or even to replace, partially or wholly, the logistical or

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economic contributions” (Matthews et  al. 2014, p.  12). According to Howe (2008), crowdfunding models are all ways of making a financial contribution that may or may not be in exchange for some form of compensation or return (donation, reward, loan and investment). These are the first two models that we shall focus on later when analysing cases from the Quebec sphere of independent and community media. Despite attempts to clarify the terms, the scientific literature, which comes from different cultural and linguistic areas, is somewhat polarized in terms of theoretical definitions of the phenomenon and especially in terms of the economic, social and cultural issues they raise. It is just as polarized with regard to the actual social and political repercussions of these crowdfunding practices as an emblematic variant of the collaborative web and the empowerment of users. Works that are sometimes proselytizing ensure that the transformations underway are leading to a greater democratization of the spaces in which culture and the media are created, thanks to the rise of the “collaborative web”, rehabilitating the power of users with respect to mass media (Shirky 2010, O’Reilly and Battelle 2009, Jenkins 2006) or adopt a cultural perspective by emphasizing the practices of amateurs, starting with fans (Le Guern 2002). Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding practices would be conducive to increasing the power of the “crowd”, which would thus contribute to the process of continual rewriting of the cultural environment (Allard 2016). But while it is important to value symbolic creativity (Willis 1990), there would always be a relationship of power between producers and receivers (Hills 2013). Some works adopt instead a divergent view of the potential for the reappropriation of real decision-making power by users, arguing that “[the] collaborative web appears to be first and foremost a factor bringing the cultural industries and other economic sectors closer together, from the communication industries to numerous consumer goods and services sectors” (Matthews et al. 2014, p. 28). Moreover, it would be an “experimental field, allowing these industrial actors to nurture, capture and enhance the value of users’ exchanges and contributions, thus helping to found a new societal model, based on the network-market” (Ibidem). Others also detect in it the whiff of participationist ideology, which “presents itself first of all as a technical discourse [emphasizing] the need to improve the effectiveness of public action in a perspective similar to that of management” (George 2003, p.  124), or trace “vectors of increased industrialization of culture” (Matthews et al. 2014, p. 18), or even discern in it the signs of a certain “culturalization of the economy” (Bouquillion 2012, Lash and Lury 2007).

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While we attribute multiple socio-technical functions to these platforms, we must nevertheless note that they and the contributors who use them assume roles held by stakeholders that are traditionally involved in the production processes of cultural and media goods: patrons, private sponsors, publishers-producers combining crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, or even the State as a public financier. In short, the multiplicity of the types of projects funded, the various purposes of the platforms, their varied scope of activities, their different degrees of intervention in the projects and the varying degrees of involvement of donors, etc. mean that the range of roles assumed by the platform and consequently by the contributors is relatively broad. Hence the relevance of taking the extent of the phenomenon seriously, given that it occurs in a context in which the culture and media ecosystem is clearly weakened, in which its very foundations are brought into question, in particular by being subjected more and more to structural instability and pressures from abroad, which results in a dilution of income. Since this situation is likely to persist in the long term, it poses a major societal challenge for Canada, and in particular for French-speaking Quebec, which must contend with limited budgetary resources and a limited population base, while still witnessing an increase in the needs of the various sectors of cultural and media creation.

The Need for a Comprehensive and Differentiated Approach Any new practices in supporting cultural and media production, such as those proposed by Crowdfunding Platforms (CFP), deserve attention for at least two reasons. First, in order to understand who the main stakeholders are and the values and interests that drive them, which are reflected as much in their actions as in their discourse. Then, to identify more precisely how their approach would constitute an alternative or complementary solution to existing funding mechanisms and, consequently, how it would bring into question the current standards and modalities of financing culture and the media as a whole. In short, it is necessary to understand the particular phenomenon of crowdfunding platforms, while placing them in the whole ecosystem (Moore 1993, 1996) of these sectors according to the dynamics of the relationships and issues that characterize them. In other words, which ideologies would these crowdfunding platforms materialize and how would they then convey them?

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While strategies relying on collective fundraising to support cultural creation do not appear to be a recent practice (Matthews et  al. 2014, p. 17), it seems that the importance of crowdfunding is currently being confirmed by the extent to which it has pervaded the financial arrangements of certain cultural and media productions. Indeed, while the general issue of financing culture and the media may go back as far as the first act of creation itself, today it involves stakeholders from various sectors of society, as well as a range of mechanisms for collecting and allocating financial resources. Whether it be funds from public bodies or private sector patronage, the result of self-financing by the craftspeople themselves through various means (additional work, fundraising, membership fees, etc. or contributions collected through CFP, all these methods have their own underlying logic which reveals the values and interests of the social actors who promote them. These strategies and their underlying logic are reflected not only in the financing methods chosen by these actors, but also in the definition of the cultural products and media that they consider worth supporting. In Canada, and more specifically in Quebec, which is predominantly French-speaking, the State, for various reasons relating to the country’s cultural sovereignty vis-à-vis its United States neighbour, including the protection of the French language, and the independence of its institutions with respect to criteria essentially dictated by market profitability, quickly set up agencies and programmes to support cultural and media production. However, while the public sector rapidly became organized very early on around sustainable structures, the private sector still relies on certain government incentives (e.g. tax credits) to encourage its patronage. The latter developed more slowly, picking and choosing to support certain cultural or artistic practices rather than others, and sometimes ignoring whole realms of creation, notably in less attractive or popular disciplines, in other words less prestigious from the point of view of social status. Moreover, private patronage, with a few exceptions, is hardly found at all in the media sector. Furthermore, the self-financing of creators who, in order to survive, must undertake various subsidiary activities, in and outside their respective production environments, seems to be one of the constants in creative sectors that have the greatest difficulty in finding sources of financing from public institutions or private companies. In fact, having emerged over the last decade in a sector which is constantly weakened by the economic uncertainty of its activities, CFPs have become new intermediaries in the collection of voluntary contributions

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from both individuals and corporations, thanks to the setting up of mechanisms that bring together creators of culture and the media and contributors who may potentially finance their projects. But however marginal the phenomenon may still be in the more general context of cultural and media production, it is nonetheless an object of interest, as evidenced already by the publication of numerous articles and the organization of scientific events dedicated to it. Its social importance can be understood either because of the new form that peer funding would take and the possibility for those people to express themselves by supporting creative works, or in terms of the positioning of traditional financiers who see that it not only calls into question their own practices but also gives them an opportunity to free themselves from the social responsibility with which they have historically been entrusted.

Between Cyclical and Structural Needs: Four Types of Financing The financing of cultural and media production is one of the decisive components of a long process which, simply put, begins with the work of ideation and design, goes through the various stages of production and ends with the implementation of methods for promoting, disseminating and circulating products as well as their acquisition by the various target audiences. But, when examined further upstream in this process, the financing issue is indispensable to the very existence of cultural and media creation practices as well as to the subsistence of a group of craftspeople (amateurs or professionals) striving to perpetuate them. Thus, it is a question not only of financing a creative activity which, when achieved, would be circumscribed in a given time and place but also of ensuring the longer-­ term sustainability of cultural and media practices that are either individual or collective, community oriented, private or institutional. From this strict point of their relationship to time (temporality), the sources of funding thus differ in several respects. In simple terms, we use here four broad categories that correspond to the different types of financing that have been traced: public, private, autonomous and participatory. These categories are not exclusive and can, in most cases, be combined. In particular, they identify the sources of financing: public sector, private sector, self-­ financing and crowdfunding platforms. Each of these sources is further broken down into subcategories revealing institutional, corporate,

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collective and individual stakeholders that intervene to a different extent and that have highly differentiated impacts. Both the cultural and media sectors have their own particular funding needs. On the cultural side, this may mean finding funding to produce a work in dance, theatre or music, as well as ensuring the survival of the troupe that will perform it or even the place where the work will be presented to the public. It is thus a question of ensuring both the creation of the work, the operational overhead of the collective that performs it and the investments required to build performance venues. These distinctions may also be made for media production, in that the needs of those who work in the press, while similar to those who work in radio, television or cinema, are not entirely identical. Certainly, in all cases, the search for funding may—but not necessarily—meet a particular need concerning the creation of a specific work or project limited in time and yielding short-­ term results. However, this quest becomes important in an existential sense, when the sustainability of a creative group’s activities has to be ensured, which then involves meeting structural needs to enable it, for example, to acquire the latest technological tools or to find suitable venues for the dissemination of its production. While, at first sight, the boundaries between the cultural and media sectors seem rather blurred or even porous, the sources of funding are less so since they are specific to artistic disciplines or media fields, operating under specific guidelines. Thus, for each of these two sectors, public organizations and programmes have been set up by both the Canadian and Quebec governments, which have their own programmes and criteria for grants. The organizations concerned, whose practices are guided by laws or regulations, tend towards a certain universality in terms of subsidizing culture, although it costs more to maintain certain disciplines than others because of the need for technological tools or the need to use several specialized job categories. For example, it is less expensive to create a pictorial or literary work than a cinematographic work, and for the former, the production costs vary so much that they seem a priori to be iniquitous, but in fact reflect the costs and production conditions of a work in a given discipline or sector. This may not be the case in the private sector, where the obligation to distribute resources across many disciplines and between a wide range of categories of works and practices is not crucial. In the case of patronage or philanthropy, this means more individual choices based on personal motivations or the interests of selective groups. Thus, certain disciplines would

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be more favoured, notably those related to “high culture” or those with a higher level of profitability, both symbolic and economic. This gives rise to the notions of legitimacy and renown of works and their creators, which are always involved when evaluating their practices and their ability to obtain funding, making it easier to obtain funding when one is an artist, a creative collective or a production group that is taken seriously and recognized by its peers, and consequently solvent for the funders. Crowdfunding would, according to its promoters, enable them to overcome or partially circumvent the obstacles linked to the lack of knowledge and the emergence of new talents or more daring projects, since it is precisely those contributors who know the creators well or quite well and who, supporting their creative efforts, undertake to support them financially through dedicated digital platforms. Finally, self-financing, that is, the money collected by artists or groups of craftsmen through individual or collective actions, has always prevailed and continues to exist in the fields of culture and the arts in general as well as in that of the media, especially with regard to independent media and, in particular, community media. All in all, while the sources of funding are now as varied as the donors with requirements and expectations meeting their respective interests, there are also as many categories of applicants for aid, in a wide range of disciplines, and with needs that are as much cyclical as structural, in other words relating to the occasional creation of a work or the recurrent search for means for perpetuating a practice.

The Case of Community and Independent Media Historically, cultural and media workers have always grappled with the issue of perpetuating their activities, thus having to diversify and multiply their sources of funding to survive. Community and independent media1 1  Association-based media, generally known as “community” media in Quebec, are characterized mainly by their geographical roots, collective ownership, democratic management and non-profit organisation (NPO) status. These conditions are also included in the criteria for public funding of community media. Independent media, on the other hand, are part of a single organisation which may or may not have a commercial goal, but which does not own any other media and whose main activity is production of media content. The community and independent media account for the smallest proportion of the Quebec media ecosystem.

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taken together are a good case in point, in that it reveals, on the one hand, the fact that “participation” is the crux of their definition, their operating rules, and even their financing, as well as the way they express their practices, and in this sense, focusing on them highlights the problem of translating the concepts of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. On the other hand, it also makes it possible to identify the difficulties encountered by non-profit organizations in the field of communication and their quest to perpetuate their practices as well as their desire to maintain democratic access to the communication channels (print media, radio, videography, television, and, more recently, digital media). Crowdfunding has now emerged, offering an “alternative”, according to the actors who promote it, to the other traditional methods of financing, but above all arguing that it is a matter of allowing potential contributors to choose whether cultural and media products should survive or not. Would this preponderance of individual choice, necessarily driven by interest, not fit into a liberal conception of a cultural and media market allowing the public, as “sovereign consumers” to “choose what they want”? On the other hand, crowdfunding is also worthwhile in that it would enable cultural and media producers to acquire a certain form of independence from public and private funds. Particularly in the case we are considering here, crowdfunding of media and journalistic projects can be approached in different ways, including with regard to the motivations of donors, the type of topics/projects funded, and the practical experiences of journalists (Goasdoué 2016). To do this, it is necessary to understand that crowdfunding is a particular type that has its own logic and that reveals values, interests or ways of conceiving social organization that are reflected in turn in the definition of the culture and media products supported. More than a mere request for financial backing, the quest for funds in a participatory fundraising campaign is accompanied by a legitimization process that requires cultural and media production stakeholders to justify their project and its merit, as well as their own creative approach and their ability to carry it through. To do so, they must adopt strategies based on self-promotion, communication, marketing campaigns or entrepreneurship, which, since they take a lot of time and even sometimes money, can distract them from their initial goal or even jeopardize their success.

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A Significant Contribution for Quebec’s Independent and Community Media? Now, to what extent can crowdfunding make a significant contribution to Quebec’s community and independent media that are striving to sustain their practice and maintain democratic access to means of communication? Since their beginnings, for most of them at the turn of the 1970s, the community and independent media have continually suffered from a precarious financial situation, depending on the resources they were able to obtain from various donors, while maintaining their original ambitions of empowering citizens as well as the communities in which they lived. The perpetual tension between these two types of objectives has affected the history and, even today, the functioning of, on the one hand, independent media, that is, non-profit groups that are free from political or economic pressure, and, on the other hand, association-based media, also called “community media” in Quebec, based on community participation in their governance, their achievements, but also in their funding. Thus, these media are characterized by their affirmation of organizational independence—notably by the composition of their editorial structure and policies—and paradoxically by a strong financial dependency, especially on public funds and donations, and to a lesser extent on advertising. The preliminary research recently undertaken before writing this chapter indicates that, while community and independent media regularly call on their members and the community to fund their activities, very few have so far opted for crowdfunding initiatives via digital platforms. Some possible explanations for this are considered in the following pages. Before doing so, we must examine once again the general structure of community and independent media in Quebec, since the four sources of funding previously identified (public, private, autonomous and participatory) account for different proportions depending on the type of media: radio, television, newspapers or digital media. According to the Association of Community Radios in Quebec (ARCQ), which represents 35 radio stations throughout Quebec, the share of independent revenues averages 80% of total radio funding. Public funding thus accounts for 20%, on average of the budget for community-­ radio activities. The share of autonomous revenues is divided into two sources: advertising sales (50%); fundraising activities and events and membership fees (30%). Over the years, radio stations have developed various fundraising strategies, including organizing various benefit events

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and selling promotional products. These operations, which often prove to be time consuming and costly, are opportunities for promoting and mobilising communities to support radio stations. Community television stations, 41 of which are members of the Québec Federation of Autonomous Community Television Stations, have three sources of revenue: self-financing, government financing and the contribution of cable operators. It should be noted that the regulations in force in the Canadian radio and TV broadcasting system prevent the sale of commercial advertising on community television. These also rely on various self-financing operations: Telethon, benefit events, corporate service contracts and, for 26 of them (according to 2015 data), the live “TV bingo” lottery—a TV lottery that offers financial prizes—are important independent financing instruments. As for the 81 member newspapers, according to May 2018 data from the Québec Association of Printed Community Media (AMECQ), their sources of revenue are equally divided between independent revenues (advertising sales, fundraising and membership fees) and public funding, including operating grants and grants for specific projects. The proportion of these two sources varies greatly from one newspaper to another.

Some Experiences with Crowdfunding As mentioned earlier, community media make little use of crowdfunding platforms, at least for the time being. However, we have noted two recent attempts, conducted by two community newspapers, both well established in their respective region: the bimonthly Le Mouton noir [The Black Sheep] at Bas-St-Laurent and the monthly L’Indice bohémien [The Bohemian Indicator], a cultural newspaper at Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Interviews with professionals from these media illustrate the expectations, sometimes disproportionate, the difficulties, often underplayed, and the results obtained during crowdfunding campaigns. For each of the newspapers, this was the first operation of its kind (in 2014 and 2016), the main objective being to ensure the newspaper’s continued operation. This is, moreover, one of the difficulties identified by those who requested crowdfunding (newspapers): that of having “nothing else to propose” but the continuation of the newspaper’s activities. That is why, in one of the cases, the CFP team had requested offering gifts in return (bags, T-shirts, subscriptions, etc.) in order to boost the campaign. Gifts which the donors then declined when they were told that they would

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have to pay the postage. This type of compensation is relatively minor when it comes to financing a media organization in financial difficulty. Each campaign identified either a specific objective (to cover the printing costs of the next three editions) or a simple message “Un p’tit 20$ pour le journal” by inviting the population to shoot a mini-video to express their support for the newspaper and to publish it on digital social networks with the hashtag #unpetit20. Contrary to what the literature suggests about how time consuming this type of operation is, the two people interviewed, who had not used the same platform, indicated that the main advantage of crowdfunding was that, on the contrary, it did not take too much time in a context in which several financing operations were in progress simultaneously. However, their assessment of the contribution of the platforms was very different depending on the level of commitment of the platforms and their involvement in the design, dissemination and promotion of the fundraising campaign. The services offered to project promoters differ greatly between crowdfunding organizations. In the two cases observed, the financial objectives of the campaign were not achieved. There are several explanations for these “failures”, though the term must be relativized, because our two interviewees considered that at the very least, their campaigns were a success, since they made the media better known and increased the number of donors to be contacted in the coming years: the explanations included objectives that were too ambitious, bad timing for the campaign and lack of confidence of donors in this new collection method. The launching of these fundraising operations, coupled in particular with promotional communication, did in fact lead to a media campaign in the regional media. The two representatives of community newspapers nevertheless admitted that if the public perceives the operations as a failure this can create a negative image whose effects must be countered. They felt that choosing a lower target would have been a more appropriate strategy because “it is better to look successful”. To go further in the exploratory work, a global approach to the financing of community and independent media would require comparing two sources: self-financing and crowdfunding. As has been said, these media have, over the years, developed various ways of asking their audiences for financial support within their home communities. So, what more could an intermediation platform offer for conducting the same type of fundraising campaign, other than being deployed in a digital universe?

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What Needs Can Crowdfunding Meet? Goasdoué (2017), based on an examination of 30 crowdfunding initiatives for journalism deployed between 2010 and 2015 in France, identified four scenarios for a call for crowdfunding, which are not necessarily exclusive: creation, rescue, diversification and piecemeal financing (2017, p.  209). This typology is useful for evaluating the Quebec attempts. According to the initiatives of the community and independent media investigated, creation and rescue are the two preferred situations for deciding to launch a participatory fundraising campaign. What more can be said about community media? Our exploratory research shows that they do not use crowdfunding structures, with a few exceptions, for a number of different reasons: first, their activities are already funded from other sources (public, private or autonomous funding); second, the instability of the organization due to a financial crisis or a lack of resources does not help when conducting such a fundraising campaign. Moreover, it appears that the very nature of local media organization, the persistent media needs and activities and free access to the media in general, make crowdfunding a model that seems to be unsuitable for meeting the structural needs of community media in their quest for sustainability2. These are already based on a “geographically” designed community. What communities can be targeted by these fundraising campaigns and what is their make-up? Since the community and independent media have developed various means for asking their audiences in their respective communities for funds over the years, how could an intermediation platform contribute to the same type of fundraising campaign? And how, in the jungle of the digital universe, could small media emerge and meet their objectives, obviously financial, but also of promotion and visibility? The two cases studied in our preliminary research enabled us to observe that a significant number of contributors to participatory fundraising campaigns were already in the network of donors of previous fundraising actions undertaken by the two newspapers. Consequently, how can we reconcile the preponderant individual choice of donor/contributor or any other category promoted by 2  In Quebec, regional/local media, regardless of how they are published, are generally always distributed free. In the case of the two newspapers studied, L’indice bohémien, a cultural newspaper in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, is free, while le Mouton noir is distributed free in Bas-St-Laurent and sold elsewhere in the province.

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the CFP with a collective approach which is necessary for the very existence of community media? In addition, there is the issue of the reputation of the media itself. Goasdoué uses Bourdieu’s (1980) concept of “social capital” to “account for unequal resources and their effects on the expected rewards of crowdfunding operations” (2017, p. 208). For example, the most recent fundraising campaign of the only independent daily newspaper in Quebec, Le Devoir, which regularly appeals to the public to ensure its financial survival, says a lot about the importance of reputation in a participatory fundraising campaign for a media. Without actually being a “rescue” campaign, even though it reflects the newspaper’s financial difficulties, the Je soutiens ‘Le Devoir’ [I support Le Devoir campaign], conceived and carried out in a digital environment, is still in effect with interesting results. However, Le Devoir has not “outsourced” its financing activities. Why so? There are three possible reasons. First, the daily has the technological resources and sufficient competent personnel to carry out this type of campaign. Then, its status as a national media organization allows it to find donors all over Quebec. Finally, and perhaps most important, it is a veritable institution, founded more than a century ago, drawing on its own reputation, which is decisive for finding and convincing potential donors. In short, Le Devoir does not need crowdfunding platforms to raise funds from its supporters. It would also rely more on subscriptions, based on “a model for which the value of information comes from the price readers are willing to pay to support quality journalism” (Myles 2018). For its part, Ricochet digital media (www.ricochet.media/fr) was launched in 2014 through a participatory fundraising campaign. The idea was to create a new community around a media project. The money raised covered all the costs associated with starting up this media initiative and setting up its website. Two years later, faced with a lawsuit brought against him by a well-known commentator, Ricochet’s team launched a new call for financial support to pay its legal fees. However, this participatory fundraising campaign was carried out on Ricochet’s own site, in its own network, with a quick and very successful return. Thus, while the project used an external platform to launch its activities, it no longer needed one to continue them, once its website was up and running and known to the public. Nor is the financial crisis currently affecting the news media sparing the community and independent media. This is despite the fact that the share of funding from advertising is lower than for commercial media. To allow

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them to continue their activities, some of them recently announced the launch of a participatory fundraising campaign through a platform. This is almost the only option left to media in difficulty, because public funding programmes, those in charge of advertising budgets and patrons are not generally interested in “saving” the media. The financial goals of these new campaigns are ambitious and the rhetoric is enthusiastic—one of them has the slogan “Let’s reinvent local information”—and expectations are very high. A careful examination of these initiatives will help to better understand the dynamics at work, as well as the shortcomings or possible advantages of crowdfunding for community and independent media. In the current context, external digital platforms do not currently seem to be a promising alternative for Quebec community media. They do not appear to meet the specific expectations which, until now, have been better met by more traditional strategies, even though the latter do not always offer them real sustainability.

Conclusion The fact that there are independent and community media shows why it is necessary to adopt a global approach to the financing of cultural and media production in order to better understand how crowdfunding platforms fit into this overall dynamic. Although they may be a complementary alternative source of financing, the platforms’ rhetoric does not affect community media practices much, since these practices have so far been largely based on their editorial autonomy and the participation of the communities they serve in all aspects of their development. Consequently, it is these close-knit communities, having the same ambition as these media practices in terms of appropriating the means of cultural and media production and democratising their access, which are the first to be called upon during fundraising campaigns which may or may not use dedicated platforms for this purpose. Consequently, the independent and community media have deployed a range of strategies, combining a variety of sources of income from equally diversified donors. One thing is clear, the question of how to finance culture and media raises a considerable number of issues of all kinds, which certainly include the perpetuation of cultural and media practices in Quebec, but which more broadly include those relating to the maintenance of principles such as cultural sovereignty and diversity in a context in which the globalized economy tends to continually challenge them.

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References Allard, L. (2016). De la gratuité au crowdfunding dans le contexte du tournant participatif de la culture à l’heure du web. Un récit rétrospectif entre concepts, technologies et pratiques. In L.  Creton & K.  Kitsopanidou (Eds.), Crowdfunding, industries culturelles et démarche participative: de nouveaux financements pour la création (pp. 37–56). Bruxelles: Peter Lang. Belleflamme, P., Lambert, T., & Schwienbacher, A. (2014). Crowdfunding: Tapping the Right Crowd. Journal of Business Venturing, 29(5), 585–609. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1578175. Bouquillion, P. (Ed.). (2012). Creative Economy, Creative Industries. Des notions à traduire. Saint-Denis: Presses universitaires de Vincennes. Bouquillion, P., & Matthews, J.  T. (2010). Le Web collaboratif. Mutations des industries de la culture et de la communication. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble. Bourdieu, P. (1980). Le capital social. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 31, 2–3. Brabham, D. C. (2013). Crowdsourcing. Cambridge: MIT Press. Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). The Era of Open Innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 44(3). https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-era-of-open-innovation/. Chesbrough, H. W. (2007). Why Companies Should Have Open Business Models. MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(2). https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/ why-companies-should-have-open-business-models/. Estellés-Arolas, E., & González-Ladrón-de-Guevara, F. (2012). Towards an Integrated Crowdsourcing Definition. Journal of Information Science, 38(2), 189–200. Fonds des médias du Canada. (2012). Financement participatif dans un contexte canadien. Une étude explorant le potentiel du financement participatif dans les industries de contenu. Toronto: Fonds des médias du Canada. George, É. (2003). Internet au service de la démocratie ? In A.  Mattelart & G. Tremblay (Eds.), 2001 Bogues. Globalisme et pluralisme, t. 4, Communication, démocratie et globalisation (pp. 122–135). Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval. Goasdoué, G. (2016). Le recours au financement participatif par les médias d’information: levier de communication, travail en soi, idéologie marchande. Questions de communication, 29, 289–306. Goasdoué, G. (2017). Analyse sociologique et économique du financement participatif. Ressorts et critiques dans le cas du journalisme (2010–2015). tic&société, 10 (2–3), 199–229. http://journals.openedition.org/ticetsociete/2154. Hills, M. (2013). Fiske’s Textual Productivity and Digital Fandom: Web 2.0 Democratization versus Fan Distinction? Participations. Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, 10(1), 130–153. von Hippel, E. (1988). The Sources of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press. Howe, J. (2006). The Rise of Crowdsourcing. Wired Magazine, 14(6), 1–4. Howe, J. (2008). Crowdsourcing. Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business? New York: Three Rivers Press.

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Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. Lash, S., & Lury, C. (2007). Global Culture Industry. The Mediation of Things. New York: Polity Press. Le Guern, P. (Ed.). (2002). Les Cultes médiatiques. Culture fan et œuvres cultes. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes. Lebraty, J.-F. (2009). Externalisation ouverte et pérennité. Une nouvelle étape de la vie des organisations. Revue française de gestion, 192, 151–165. http:// www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-gestion-2009-2-page-151.htm. Lévy, P. (1994). L’Intelligence collective. Pour une anthropologie du cyberespace. Paris: La Découverte. Matthews, J. T., Rouzé, V., & Vachet, J. J. (2014). La Culture par les foules ? Le crowdfunding et le crowdsourcing en question. Paris: MkF Édition. Ménard, M. (2004). Éléments pour une économie des industries culturelles. Montréal: Société de développement des entreprises culturelles du Québec. Miège, B. (2000). Les Industries du contenu face à l’ordre informationnel. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble. Moore, J.  F. (1993). Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition. Harvard Business Review, 7(3), 75–86. Moore, J. F. (1996). The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems. New York: Harper Business. Myles, B. (2018). Le miracle du “Devoir” tient à ses abonnés. Le Devoir, 12 mai. https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/idees/527621/le-miracle-du-devoir-tienta-ses-abonnes. O’Reilly, T., & Battelle, J. (2009). Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On. In Web 2.0 Summit, San Francisco, oct. http://www.web2summit.com/web2009/ public/schedule/detail/10194. Pénin, J., Burger-Helmchen, T., Dintrich, A., Guittard, C., & Schenk, É. (2013). L’Innovation ouverte. Définitions, pratiques et perspectives. Paris: Eyrolles. Proulx, S., Garcia, J. L., & Heaton, L. (2014). La Contribution en ligne. Pratiques participatives à l’ère du capitalisme informationnel. Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec. Raboy, M. (1996). Occasions ratées. Histoire de la politique canadienne de radiodiffusion. Montréal/Sainte-Foy: Éd. Liber/Presses de l’Université Laval. Sénécal, M. (1995). L’Espace médiatique. Les communications à l’épreuve de la démocratie. Montréal: Éd. Liber. Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive Surplus. Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. Londres: Penguin. Surowiecki, J. (2008). La Sagesse des foules. Paris: J.-C. Lattès. Willis, P. (1990). Common Culture. Symbolic Work at Play in the Everyday Cultures of the Young. Boulder: Westview Press.

PART II

Journalism and the Public Sphere

CHAPTER 5

Audiences and Readership of Revolutionary Leftist Media: The “Media Leader” Hypothesis Vincent Goulet

One of the key challenges that any media outlet faces is “establishing an audience”. Whether this is the largest audience possible for nonspecialist news media, or a specific group of people to which to sell specialised or industry-­specific information, the issue is always the same: how can media“represent”  their audiences? In other words, how can media articulate their recipients’ implicit expectations through the words of a locutor? Here, Vincent Goulet addresses the particular case of revolutionary leftist media, which aim to create the conditions enabling an unconnected audience to come together as a mobilisable mass for revolution. Using anthropologist Christian Geffray’s reading of Sigmund Freud, he develops what he calls the “media leader” hypothesis. When mass political protest is necessary to fulfil a desire, hitherto unarticulated, but expressible, media can potentially take on a leadership role if the Ego image they offer can be substituted for the “Ego Ideals” of the individuals making up their audiences. This hypothesis is verified through four case studies

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of revolutionary media that garnered considerable audiences or readerships. These are Le Père Duchesne (1791–1794), a newspaper founded just after the French Revolution; Le Cri du peuple (1871) published during the Paris Commune; the Lorraine Cœur d’Acier radio station (1979–1981), which illegally broadcast programmes in support of the Lorraine miners whose jobs were threatened; and lastly, La Tuerka (2010–), a Spanish television programme created at the height of the economic crisis, which was a harbinger of the Podemos political movement. They all share the ability to meet collective – though ambiguous – aspirations using a language level and categorisations that help their audiences identify with them. They thus form audiences by enabling individuals to participate in a collective reality beyond themselves. First published as Goulet V., 2017. “Les médias de gauche révolutionnaires: l’hypothèse du « média-meneur »”, In: Ballarini L. and Ségur C. (eds), 2017, Devenir public. Modalités et enjeux, Paris: Mare et Martin, pp. 115–145. Translated by Beth Varley (Coup de Puce Expansion)

The study of reception involves a major difficulty, which is the instability of its subject matter—“audiences”.1 Audiences are governed by how journalists and media companies try to create them since audiences are “programmed” by media.2 As emphasised by Louis Quéré, audiences belong to a category known as “Thirdness”, along with habits, laws, and customs, which exist only inasmuch as they are incorporated into human 1  This chapter expands on the material presented in the second chapter of Médias: le peuple n’est pas condamné à TF1 ! (Goulet 2015). 2  Audiences are constructed by production, they are not merely the result of adjusting a product to an already existing demand: “the media simultaneously create their programmes and audiences” by integrating audiences in production as a preliminary step (Méadel 1986, p. 8).

V. Goulet (*) Sociétés, Acteurs, Gouvernement en Europe, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France e-mail: [email protected]

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practice: “Action is collective, the subject is not” (Quéré 2003, p. 114). Journalists and media companies can be conceived as objective entities: they operate within specific contexts, produce discourses that can be observed to have similar forms and content whereas audiences do not actually exist. One may estimate their numbers or describe their social and cultural properties, but this does not yield much information about the “mysteries of reception” or the way in which recipients perceive themselves as “members of an audience”. Therefore, social science researchers and media sociologists are in a similar position to that of chief editors or publishers in that the way in which they measure and observe audiences contributes to creating such audiences. This chapter attempts to give an account of the ways in which specific audiences are created, namely those of progressive, freedom-fighting media committed to radical social transformation, namely the “revolutionary leftist media”. As opposed to the commercial press, which seeks to convert people into clients by building audiences, socialist activists first consider audiences to be masses to be mobilised (to “start a revolution”). This particular kind of audience calls for the use of the theoretical approach of the anthropologist Christian Geffray in his understanding of the “leader” role and “the formation of crowds” in Freud,3 an approach described in the introduction. We then test the “media leader” hypothesis by examining three French case studies from three different centuries: Hébert’s Le Père Duchesne (Father Duchesne) in 1791–94, Vallès’s Le Cri du Peuple (The Cry of the People) from 1883 to 1888 and the radio station Lorraine Cœur d’Acier (LCA, Lorraine Heart of Steel) in Longwy for 1979–80, three media outlets with very left-wing views, but which had wide audiences amongst the working people. The purpose here is not to provide an overview of revolutionary or alternative media, nor to discuss their anti-hegemonic, expressive, organisational, propagandist, educational or empowering capacity for the oppressed, but to further our understanding of the mysterious cultural, social and psychological phenomenon whereby people turn to a particular media outlet to identify with a group that can be mobilised—a politically committed audience.4 These three 3  Christian Geffray (1954–2001) was an academic Dean at the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). He produced a dense, compact body of work, and his aim was to import the contributions of psychoanalysis into sociology. 4  For a short presentation on the history of progressive media and the debates within them about their operation and strategic orientation, see Cardon and Granjon (2013).

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French media outlets were selected because the original sources could be accessed directly through the French National Library archives for the first two, and a set of radio archive CDs for LCA, and because unlike many contemporary community media, they had a true grass-roots audience, enabling them to reach out to the “masses”. It would undoubtedly be helpful to conduct a systematic international comparative study to broaden the corpus to other media for working people that are focused on social change, such as the German socialist press under Bismarck, the revolutionary Russian press at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the politicised audio-visual media in the barrios of some Latin-American countries today. Unfortunately, such a project would go far beyond what can be tackled in this single article, which seeks to identify, using the relatively little-known socio-analytical approach of Christian Geffray, the common social determinants influencing the formation of working-class, activist audiences. To sketch out this comparative approach while remaining on a European level, we end this chapter by summarising the hypothesis of the “media leader” through a contemporary case study, the television programme La Tuerka, which accompanied the emergence of the Podemos movement in Spain, investigated here using on-line archives and party leader accounts. Other media that could have been investigated are those of far-right-­ wing extremism, since they also have a revolutionary intent and since the left do not have a monopoly on mass social protest. Examples include Drumont’s Libre Parole newspaper at the end of the nineteenth century in France (on this, see Sternhell 1997, p. 249ff.) or the contemporary development of extremist right-wing networks (the “fachosphère”), with media and political public figures such as the comedian Dieudonné, accused of anti-semitism and the far-right activist and ideologist Alain Soral. Nevertheless, this way of forming audiences has more to do with frustration and “violence management”—similar processes to those studied by Ted Gurr (1970)—than with an exchange of Ego Ideals between the led and a leader, on which Christian Geffray’s approach is based. Such an exchange is based on a form of utopia which lends itself to political arousal, whose violent expression is not the main distinguishing feature. However, it would be useful to pinpoint the differences between “progressive” and “reactionary” revolutionary media and to understand the different ways in which they form audiences.

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The Nature of the Enunciator-Enunciatee Relationship To form an audience, two main elements come into play: the implicit expectations of the recipients and the speech of a locutor. An audience is formed when an act of utterance encounters several recipients, meaning that a verbal act fulfils or meets an expectation—that is, a latent desire to enunciate—and in so doing, links individuals together. How are we to understand this phenomenon in which a locutor connects with addressees, and addressees connect with each other as if they were “caught” in a shared process of reception? Is it a “communication contract”, as claimed by Patrick Charaudeau, who considers it to be a social relationship, which is constantly being renegotiated?5 The term is problematic because of its connotations of Rousseau, but especially because—and the criticism is basically the same—it assumes that individuals desire to form groups, to become an audience. Patrick Charaudeau (1997, p. 67) writes of “individuals striving to live in a community”, and also of a previous identity that refers to already well-formed subjects, who are participating already and have already been educated in communication practice. The risk is then is to consider communication as a skill, whereas it is actually an activity that constructs social beings. On individual and collective levels, an audience is formed not by contractual interactions but by the convergence of psychological and social dimensions in the emergence of subjects. As we shall see with the three socialist-media case studies, there are “techniques” for forming audiences, such as using “conventional realism” (to build audience confidence), stylising the act of utterance (using “common language”), and using formal audience feedback (i.e. the audience participates in producing the message). These linguistic and representational forms, which are also effective on a symbolic level, produce a vast array of projections, identifications, acknowledgements, and common mindsets and approaches, which did not exist in this form before being publicised. Thus, the body structuring and forming the discourse plays a central role, and the way in which its comments are received in the recipients’ horizons of expectations is also key (Jauss 1978). Hans Robert Jauss reiterates the dialogue between the producer and the recipient, insisting on its intersubjective dimension and the normative definition it 5  “Any discourse depends, for the construction of its social relevance, on the specific conditions of the exchange in which it emerges” (Charaudeau 1997, p. 67).

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implies.6 The place left for an omnipotent “individual consciousness” (Jauss 1978, p. 143) in Jauss’s view does not, however, fully account for the processes whereby social subjects are formed, while the terms “latent expectation” (which implies desire), “identification” and “projection” all introduce the vocabulary of psychoanalysis. In Le Nom du Maître, published in 1997, Christian Geffray explores avenues for understanding the drivers of the enunciator-enunciatee relationship for a particular kind of audience: the “politicised” audience or mobilisable mass. The “Leader” and the “Mass” Christian Geffray takes a critical look at Sigmund Freud’s Group Psychology and Analysis of the Ego, published in 1921, in which the inventor of the “unconscious” discusses Gustave Le Bon in particular. The topic discussed is not audiences, but “masses” or “crowds”. Sigmund Freud builds on Gustave Le Bon’s definition of a crowd as a “temporary being made up of heterogeneous elements which have become one at a particular moment in time”,7 a definition which points to the word “audience” and to which the now slightly old-fashioned term “mass media” also refers. To shape masses, to gather unconnected, isolated individuals (i.e. outside the strong ties of close relationships, families, corporations, and religious communities, the focus here being the “self-sufficient” individual of the free-market and rational society of the literary and cultural “Enlightenment” movement of the eighteenth century), the leader has to put himself/herself—or more precisely, his/her own ego image—forward so that individuals can substitute it for their own “Ego Ideals”. For Sigmund Freud (1921, p. 54): “A mass is a number of individuals who have replaced their Ego Ideals with a common single object, and who identify with one another as a result.” Christian Geffray (1997, p.  91) 6  “Analysis of the reader’s literary experience will avoid any damaging psychologising, if to describe the reception of a work and the effect it produces, it reconstructs the horizon of expectation of its first audience, that is, the objectively conceivable system of references, which at the time each work appeared, stemmed from three main factors: the audience’s prior experience of the genre to which it belongs, the forms and themes of previous works with which the audience is assumed to be familiar, and the opposition between the poetic and practical functions of language, between an imaginary world and daily reality” (Jauss 1978, p. 54). 7  Gustave Le Bon, Psychologie des foules (1895), in Freud 1921, p. 146.

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adds: “Their Ego Ideals have been replaced by the leader, or to be more precise his/her image (this happens in the imagination).”8 Christian Geffray (1997, p. 94) asks the following question: what conditions are required for a mass libidinous structure to emerge in history? Marxists ask the same question: how does a “class in itself” become a “class for itself” or in other words, a mobilised class? This question is also of interest for research on audiences as masses, and “socialist” audiences in particular, since revolutionary leaders seek to create a mass movement through media and audience construction. Christian Geffray identifies two prerequisites for an animated mass to emerge. The first is that the fulfilment of desire be dependent on mass action (which excludes sexual desire and desires that can be assuaged in a person’s family circle, as in these cases, there would be no reason to give up one’s own Ego Ideal). The second prerequisite is that these desires should not already have coalesced or have been voiced in the discourse of an existing “animated mass” or a preformed, institutionalised group. Such desires should be latent, “floating”, with no immediate access to “motility”, that is to say, “action conducive to the fulfilment of a desire”. Such an inclination shared by an unconnected group of individuals forms a horizon of expectation, a potential. There must be a social desire, which is “diffuse or latent in a population on the brink of congregating into a mass”, and “which will coalesce and find a collective voice in the emergence of a new mass” (Geffray 1997, p. 96). This state of expectation can be recognised as a “revolutionary” or “pre-revolutionary” situation, as formalised for example by Ted Gurr (1970, p. 134ff.): social discontent caused by frustration or relative deprivation leads to forms of anomie, in 8  It may be useful to recall a few psychoanalytical concepts here: the Ego Ideal (Ich-Ideal) is on the same level as the Superego (Über-Ich), but is separate from it. While the Superego is a critical, inhibiting authority, which judges and condemns, the Ego Ideal is a much more positive and constructive part of the mind, which presents an identification model and suggests that satisfaction may be attained by conforming to representations viewed as positive. “A component of personality stemming from the convergence of narcissism (the idealisation of self) with identifications with one’s parents, parental substitutes and collective ideals. As a separate part of the mind, the Ego Ideal is a model to which the subject seeks to conform” (Laplanche and Pontalis 1967, p. 184). It is the part of the mind thanks to which an individual becomes a subject, and it is built out of identifications (and particularly for Sigmund Freud, identification with the father) and it permanently chains the individual to the ideals and requirements of social life. By separating the Ego Ideal from the Ego, a subject allows himself/herself to feel satisfied with his/her Ego (thereby keeping the Superego at bay) but also to become part of the social “game”.

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which a society’s ideational coherence is challenged and which is accompanied by a breakdown of its norms and values, world vision, belief system, and sense of community. For new combinations to emerge with the aid of a leader, individuals must be available, and waiting for a new shared meaning for their lives, but they do not necessarily have to be in a state of open, violent revolt, which is the focus of Ted Gurr’s book Why men rebel. In his book, Ted Gurr acknowledges the important role of media in the genesis of collective violence, although he does not specify how they play this role. Media are seen as supporting frustration and discontent by showing other ways of living or by revealing the regime’s repressive responses to social dissatisfaction. Media can also take on a more instrumental role by allowing communication between leaders and followers,9 but the relationship between individuals, leaders and the media is not central to his analysis, which is more concerned with the socio-political process of how rebellious groups are formed. Christian Geffray’s ideas, on the other hand, are helpful for understanding the socio-psychological mechanisms underpinning the rebuilding of a collective persona. The Substitution of the Ego Ideal In a crisis situation on a social level but more importantly on a symbolic level, a would-be leader must echo the diffuse, latent expectations of a dislocated social system: “he/she must be able to offer a voice and develop a discourse in which the members of the addressed population recognise a feeling that they share” (Geffray 1997, p. 95). Through his/her discourse, by putting himself/herself or his/her Ego forward (as this is obviously about one’s self-image) to enable individuals to substitute that image for their own Ego Ideals, a leader ties unconnected desires together and creates a new link for him/herself in the referent chain (Geffray 1997, p. 105). The frustrated subjects, who cannot access their own Ego Ideals and rely on the ego of a leader (in actual fact, its image) form a mass by becoming an imagined “Us” figure (Geffray 1997, pp. 107–108). The public nature of this substitution process is another important aspect: “the leader’s speech is not intended for another ego but for a population aggregating several egos” (Geffray 1997, p.  112). This is on a different level to that of a private conversation. The process takes place in 9  “Effective revolutionary leadership requires open communication channels between leaders and followers” (Gurr 1970, p. 223).

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the public sphere, an Öffentlichkeit, in which the leader risks offering his/ her Ego to others as a replacement for their own Ego Ideals. Therefore, it is a political process whereby, in order to build an “Us”, “Egos”—be that of the “leader” or “the led”—have to be symbolically sacrificed. We now examine several historical examples in which media have been able to effect this psychological and symbolic substitution to become “media leaders”. We then sketch out a summary of the concept based on a contemporary case study of La Tuerka-Podemos in Spain.

The Père Duchesne In 1791, in the effervescence of revolutionary Paris, when frames of reference and traditional institutions were being challenged, the public sphere was particularly open to new ideas, with hundreds of newspapers and publications being published every day since the convening of the Estates General three years earlier. Unconnected individuals were seeking new conventions and a new social order. Amongst these publications was the most widely read newspaper of the French Revolution, the Père Duchesne, which was intended in particular for the sans-culottes and the Parisian working people. These were wage-­ earners, labourers and market women but also artisans, tradesmen and all those, who by wearing striped trousers were opposing the aristocrats and bourgeois, who wore breeches and stockings. On the first page of this crudely printed, compact-size newspaper, which came out two or three times a week, there was a picture of “Père Duchesne”, a colourful fictional character portrayed at fairs, well known in the capital’s working neighbourhoods, who impersonated a stove merchant and former sailor, who was a heavy pipe smoker and wine drinker and who enjoyed strong expletives and catchy proverbs. Père Duchesne epitomised the common people, easily outraged, quick to remonstrate against all forms of injustice which victimise the common people. The only editor of this newspaper, Jacques-René Hébert, was far from being a manual worker. The son of a goldsmith from Alençon, he was destined to become a lawyer until his plans were foiled due to a sex scandal, and he came to Paris, where he was forced to live by his wits. Having known the bleak struggle to make ends meet, and for so many years,10 this 10  Comments made in 1793 by Desgenettes, a former school friend, transcribed by Duval and quoted by A. Agostini 1999, p. 16.

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outcast is said to have retained a strong affinity with the common people as well as a fierce resentment against the elites and people with a high social standing. When the Revolution broke out, he enrolled in a militia in the Carmes district (which defended bourgeois property) and wrote a few pamphlets, which attracted some acclaim. In 1791, he founded the Père Duchesne, which became the voice of the sans-culottes. Hébert then sought ministerial office and participated in the fall of the Girondins in October 1793. However, a few months later, he came into conflict with Camille Desmoulins, who managed to have him guillotined in March 1794, after accusing him of organising extravagant dinners with bankers and of having got rich by selling his newspaper to the armed forces. How did the Père Duchesne manage to garner an audience and what was its role in the coming together of the sans-culottes? How did the newspaper manage to put itself forward as a substitute for the Ego Ideals of its readership? This psychological feat was achieved by offering an image and a discourse that encouraged both identification and self-progress. Enabling Identification by Becoming One with the Recipient The newspaper’s language was often “vulgar” in the true sense, but also the second meaning of the word. The Père Duchesne used coarse and emotional language, fully embracing the language of common people, and even turning crudeness into an element of style: Is it possible that in this new regime there be monopolists and speculators like in the old? Ah! I’m afraid that everything I say will just be a bloody waste of time! […] If we’re not careful, they can issue all the petty money they can for use by the people, everything will always go to pot, everything will be resold, everything will be bought, except for the articles in my paper, because they tell the truth. So, my dear fellows the lazy speculators, if you won’t give up your blasted intrigues, rest assured I can find some sturdy fellows who will force you to stop. There will be at least two hundred of us, armed with bludgeons, and we will strike your rear ends until they bleed. (No. 14 “Contre les revendeurs de petits assignats et les agioteurs”)

The “stove merchant’s” concerns were practical, rooted in everyday life. He applauded the National Assembly’s orders to keep the price of

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wine, tobacco and food down. Like the sans-culottes, he was always available for a drinking session and ready to live life to the full. The Père Duchesne did not shy away from a Manichean philosophy of good versus evil and always took the side of common people against the powerful. It denounced nobles, tax collectors (fermiers généraux), but also the hypocrites and new politicians who pretended to defend the people for personal gain: I get bloody angry when I see a member of the National Assembly (député) earn eighteen pounds a day when he was loaded with debt before he got his grand title and became untouchable for his creditors, […], when I see him stay in a magnificently furnished hotel, with all manner of idle and voluptuous pleasures. (No 36)

A system opposing “ordinary people” and the “powerful”11 was put forward to help form a collective identity. The method was all the more effective as the leader described himself as a “commoner” based on “literary fiction”, in a process that can be described both as “conventional realism” and a “distancing with the real world”, as highlighted by Anne-Marie Thiesse (1984, pp. 46 and 123–160, see the chapter “condition de production du stéréotype”). Another way of constructing an “Us” against a “They” was to adopt a patriotic posture, which essentially meant a revolutionary stance. The Père Duchesne defended the nation against the attacks of foreign armies, who allied with the émigrés to try and restore the monarchy. It gave “wise advice to Marshal Luckner, telling him to at last, give the Austrians a beating” (No 141). Its patriotism was not devoid of internationalism. It welcomed the fact that the National Assembly had offered a pension to foreign army deserters and assured that “the French wanted all nations to be one family” (No 160). All these techniques facilitated an identification between the newspaper and its audience. The Père Duchesne sought to embody the sans-culottes. It portrayed itself as one of them, it spoke like common people, and always came to their defence. It is as if the Père Duchesne’s and its readers’ Egos had become interchangeable. 11  See Birnbaum 1979, and, about its use in media, see Goulet 2010, pp. 173–205 (chapter “vivre la domination”).

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A New Discourse Promoting Self-Progress The Père Duchesne not only was the reader’s other self or a kind of populist spokesperson, it also portrayed itself as an elder, notably because it succeeded in formulating what remained unclear in readers’ minds. Besides ego identification, it also promoted self-progress. Jacques-René Hébert’s newspaper did not limit itself to merely protesting and echoing the sans-culottes’ complaints. It formulated a new order, with values, institutions, and beliefs, and facilitated what would be known later as public education. It covered complex economic issues such as debt and currency, by writing about them in practical and accessible terms. On another level, it argued for the right of divorce, and against gaming-dens, which “debased the people”. It welcomed the abolition of slavery. On several occasions, it campaigned for secular public education, which would be able to “impress in children’s tender hearts the benefits of a new constitution” (No 27). Issue after issue, the Père Duchesne described the emergence of a new world, coining new words and formulating new concepts for the unfolding events. It created new coherence for a world threatened with anomie. The power of its rhetoric generated enough substance for it to take the place of the Ego Ideals of the mass of readers. Putting itself on the same level as the common people, the Père Duchesne transported them nonetheless to places normally reserved to the world’s elites: Yesterday, very early in the morning, I was walking in the Tuileries, smoking my pipe after my morning tipple. […] I was daydreaming about what was going on, when suddenly I felt a heavy blow on my shoulder that almost made me lose my balance. Who’s the rascal who dares to strike me like this, I exclaimed, turning around, ready to wallop him back? It’s me, Père Duchesne, don’t you recognise the king? Don’t I just, but, I said, that’s a funny and rather uncivil way of greeting people. You almost knocked me out. With a punch like that, you shouldn’t be using it against good citizens like Père Duchesne, but against aristocrats, when they come and whisper bad things in your ear. (No 74)

In a later issue, Père Duchesne recounted how he had been nominated minister of His Majesty (No 92). The tale skilfully explained how the commoners, embodied by Père Duchesne, earned a new position in society. But the pretence of power had to come to an end because both the Ego and the Ego Ideal would need to be shielded against the negative

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influence of the ruling elite were they to socialise too closely with it. In the following issue, he had already resigned: “What a crazy bunch this court is! Being a minister is a bugger of a job! Give me my stoves any time! […] You have to deal with gentlemen, then with ladies, be polite when speaking the truth, Père Duchesne is not cut out for such a role.” The political fate of Jacques-René Hébert is a reminder of how a leader’s position has to balance the implicit expectations of individuals in search of connection and motility, with providing a voice, and holding a social and symbolic status enabling the locutor to give that voice credibility. It is possible to identify key stages in the newspaper’s life and match them with the Père Duchesne’s progression to become an Ego Ideal substitute for the Parisian working people. At first, the Père Duchesne expressed fairly moderate views, and the paper was unsigned. Although it was anticlerical, it was not necessarily against religion, and remained, at first, in favour of a constitutional monarchy. Its “maximalist” views, shared by the more radical amongst the députés of the Mountain (so-called because they sat on the highest benches at the National Convention) developed progressively, becoming later one of the most feared newspapers of the Revolution, pushing for the murder of politicians and threatening to behead “bad patriots”. When Jacques-René Hébert was accused of getting rich at the expense of the Republic, his ability to rally the masses diminished rapidly, and he ended up a mere political schemer. The readers ceased to identify with the newspaper, and the citizen Hébert distanced himself from the Père Duchesne character, the image of the sans-culotte Ego Ideal. The Parisian working people did not try to stop his execution in March 1794. For two to three years, through this media creation, the sans-culottes had access to motility, or in other words, “action conducive to the fulfilment of a desire”, their desire for equality in particular. This was in fact the process through which the newspaper created and consolidated the sans-­ culotte group. In times of political crisis, linguistic innovation helped define and redefine social groups. It is thus possible to say that Jacques-­ René Hébert contributed to the emergence of the sans-culottes as a collective identity, whose sociology, as noted by Haim Burstin (2005) was intentionally ill-defined, sufficiently flexible for it to be able to aggregate individuals effectively. One of the ways in which the Père Duchesne managed to impose this citizenship model and rally the people around it was by introducing a new, more informal relationship with politics, epitomised by the newspaper’s crude language.

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The Cri du Peuple The Cri du Peuple was also a left-wing, socialist and revolutionary newspaper, which succeeded at the end of the nineteenth century in attracting a wide readership amongst the working classes. The paper, published between 1883 and 1886 by Jules Vallès, one of the leaders of the Commune, was a four-page daily broadsheet, which cost ten centimes in the provinces and five centimes in Paris. With its low price, it sought to compete with other commercial popular newspapers costing a sou (a five centimes coin), such as the Petit Journal or the Petit Parisien. The newspaper became quite popular, with sales reaching a hundred thousand copies for issues featuring hot social news, such as the Anzin strike in February 1884 or the Decazeville miners’ strike in 1886. Even though it never came close to the Petit Journal’s 500,000 copies, the Cri du Peuple had become a daily with a wide audience and a truly working-class readership. According to Alexandre Zévaès, one of Jules Vallès’s biographers, the Cri du Peuple was the “first great revolutionary newspaper, whose campaigns had the greatest impact and effect on the Parisian working class” (Zévaès 1932, p. 75). Like at the time of the Père Duchesne, French society was going through a period of profound social and political upheaval. The industrial revolution led thousands of rural people to leave the countryside to go and work in factories. Increasing numbers of people migrated to newly created urban areas and growing literacy facilitated the spread of new ideas, such as Saint-Simonianism, the free association of producers inspired by libertarian socialism, or Marxism. Unconnected individuals were looking for new references to make sense of their lives and find new ways of improving them. The Cri du Peuple managed to gather under its banner several socialist currents, while positioning itself as a guardian figure for the labour movement, and in so doing it carved out a leadership role for itself, successfully transforming a crowd into an audience. Jules Vallès, the “Objector” As with the Père Duchesne, Jules Vallès’s personality, life and political experiences were key. With anarchist sympathies, he admired both Proudhon the pacifist and Blanqui the rioter and did not belong to any political party or doctrine. He was rebellious and resisted discipline, advocating a direct relationship with the people, in a somewhat idealistic way.

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Jules Vallès was born in 1832  in the Massif Central. His family had climbed the social ladder, joining the “new social class” of Gambetta: his grandfather was a smallholding farmer and his father was a primary school teacher, who then passed the state examination known as the agrégation de grammaire, thus enabling him to become a high school French teacher. The young Vallès rebelled against his background marked by lower-­middle class conformism and discovered politics for himself. A secondary school pupil when the 1848 Revolution broke out, he followed the events passionately and sided with the people’s Republic. Like many good students of his generation, he moved to Paris to study, where he had the opportunity to attend lectures by the historian Jules Michelet and the unclassifiable Edgard Quinet. Jules Vallès was an activist who hesitated between reform and revolution, the choice being between a peaceful and progressive transformation of people’s attitudes towards a democratic and social Republic, and a brutal transition to a new social order using violence if necessary. After being involved in an abortive plot against Louis-Napoléon, he began writing for newspapers such as Le Figaro and Le Progrès, and in 1867, he founded a literary and social weekly called La Rue, whose purpose was to reflect the views of the working classes and rehabilitate them. As you can see, we are giving extensive coverage to poverty: come forward those who are downtrodden! We recount the story of suffering, but we are also writing labour history. What others are doing for famous idle people, we shall do for obscure artisans; far from hiding behind the scenes of political power or in literary salons, we shall be on building sites, in factories, in front of type cases or workbenches to tell the stories of those who honour their own, be they typographers or cabinet-makers, painters, sawyers or builders. (La Rue, 1st June 1867)

The journal was anti-militarist, anticlerical and against religion, hostile to the Empire, but also too expensive for its audience. It would last only a year, and it landed Vallès in prison for a few months for some articles he had written about the police. During the 1871 Commune, Vallès became one of the leaders of the uprising. He co-wrote the text of the Affiche Rouge12 and he founded a 12  Red-coloured poster plastered on 7 January 1871 on the walls of Paris, then under siege by the German troops, denouncing the Government of National Defence, which was about to capitulate, and calling for the inauguration of the Commune.

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new newspaper, the Cri du Peuple. After the defeat against the Versaillais, he fled to London, yet the reputation he had earned during the Parisian revolution made him one of the main figures of the French far-left until his death in 1885. While in exile, Jules Vallès met Caroline Remy, a lively character who wanted to become a journalist. Thanks to Séverine, as she was soon going to be called, and the financial help of her companion, Doctor Guébhard, Jules Vallès was able to relaunch the Cri du Peuple in 1883. Straight away, he placed himself above political parties, encouraging unification and speaking directly to the “people”: Here people of all opinions will find a place commensurate with their sorrows, according to their level of distress and suffering. All those who, because of capitalist organisation, are exploited, have been maimed, or have fallen victim to misfortune or evil shall unite. […] The Cri du Peuple wants to be social, humane, whether beaded with tears or speckled with laughter, open to all, a free forum. I am waiting for the gay and the irritated. (28 October 1883)

The editing team was open to all socialist revolutionary factions and welcomed in its ranks anarchists, Blanquists (who believed that an enlightened minority should seize power), possibilists (who believed that voting would suffice for changing society) and followers of Jules Guesde. While most newspapers of that era defended one line or another (whether they belonged to the left or right) or professed to be “apolitical”, such as the commercial popular press, Jules Vallès managed to create a newspaper with a distinctive opinion, yet no allegiance to any political organisation, but one which was closely associated with himself (his name appeared in large print under the title). In accordance with Christian Geffray’s socio-analytical approach, all the conditions were set for “Vallès’s newspaper” to take the lead: its chief editor enjoyed an unquestionable reputation and prestige, which made him a charismatic leader—making it easier for readers to project their Ego Ideals onto the “newspaper/Vallès” ego—and the newspaper succeeded in federating a wide range of people with different political views, who all yearned for unity. The Cri du Peuple fulfilled an aspiration shared by many individuals, which was to gather together the “great socialist family”.

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The Cri du Peuple is open to all socialists without excluding any of the schools of thought. We shall support with the utmost impartiality and with equal vigour all workers’ groups, all workers rebelling against capital, all those who want to put an end, by all means possible, to the economic tyranny of the upper classes. […] All those who have rallied around the “Socialism” watchword and the Revolution battle-cry. (28 October 1883)

As highlighted by Christian Geffray, the leader’s speech must allow motility, in other words, the collective fulfilment of desire through action. Beyond the expression of a shared sentiment (the socialist revolt), it provided a means to an end: the “great revolutionary family” could come together by becoming readers of the newspaper. Form and Style of the Cri du Peuple While more modern, the Cri du Peuple shared many traits with Jacques-­ René Hébert’s Père Duchesne, including the frequent use of humour and irony, a mixture of national and international news, political commentary, and anecdotes. It was not purely a political newspaper in that it included a serial novel, commercial ads, stock exchange prices and classified ads. The articles were short, often recounting facts, or conversely, quite elaborate, using a narrative form with a lively tone to entertain suspense. The style could also be very lyrical, according to the taste of the times, when the paper denounced colonialism or the upper classes’ selfishness. Jules Vallès wrote with a free pen, in a vigorous style, and he did not shy away from colloquial speech. He disliked an educational tone, and academic idle discussions full of jargon, preferring “the people’s sound common sense”. As in his novels, his writing style was alert, sketching the daily lives of the common people, condemning the unfair and base acts committed by the powerful. The Cri du Peuple always took the side of the poor and weak. This trait, which it shared with the Père Duchesne, facilitated the paper’s substitution for its readers’ Ego Ideals. He was influenced by Michelet and his idea of the people as an infinite, creative power, remaining profoundly supportive of the humble and despised, whose struggles he wholeheartedly embraced: “Let us always be with the people, even if our ideas suffer for it, even though we have to stand by their mistakes, and their so-called crimes, be it under fire and facing death” (27 January 1884).

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First Forms of Audience Feedback The relationship between a newspaper and its audience, between a leader and the mass must be close and reciprocal to enable the leader to perceive the implicit expectations of its locutors. Following the footsteps of the Père Duchesne and Marat’s L’Ami du Peuple—well before Web 2.0—Jules Vallès encouraged the readers to take up their pens to express their own views in his newspaper. Beyond readers’ letters, the Cri du Peuple journalists edited stories reported by readers, after an additional investigation when necessary, thus becoming the voice of common people: My writing belongs to everyone. […] Never will a letter remain unanswered if it is recounting one of those unnoticed attacks that are committed every minute around us, under the protective shade of the law, and my pen will always be ready to put an oppressor, great or small, in the metaphorical stocks. The letter opened this moment on my table shows—a well-known fact—that if all men are brothers, quite a few still understand brotherhood in the way that Cain did. (L.-V. Meunier, 10 November 1883)

This was illustrated by an account of workers’ misery and mean factory owners. Audience feedback could also take on a more tangible form, with practical acts of worker solidarity. During the great strikes of Anzin in 1884, the Cri du Peuple organised a subscription for a strikers’ fund and the list of contributors appeared each day in a column. In so doing, in addition to acknowledging the people’s expectations and enabling a public expression of its desires, the leader brings motility, that is, access to action conducive to the fulfilment of such desires: in this case, organising and collecting donations enabled individuals to fully embrace the struggle and help create the conditions for the movement to be successful. This staging of the public by the newspaper also transformed the image of the newspaper itself, by holding up a mirror for the readers and thus facilitating the substitution of their Ego Ideals. The Père Duchesne and Cri du Peuple newspapers shared several common traits. Both were infused by the strong personalities of outcasts who had actually known poverty and insecurity and had rebelled against a humiliating social order. The leaders as enunciators of speech crystallising the group, though not necessarily members of the working class themselves, had to know it intimately. Both acquired their legitimacy and charisma in contact with grass-roots movements during ebullient times. By

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being fellow travellers of such movements, they were able to access a kind of “prophetic science” of unarticulated expectations waiting to be verbalised. Neither Jacques-René Hébert nor Jules Vallès steered clear of Manicheism and both cast the world into two distinct groups, exploiters and the exploited, which allowed them to systematically defend the latter. Their insistence on the miserable aspects of workers’ lives in their writing was probably a way of forging a collective identity but also, paradoxically, an attempt at compensation, at reconstructing a form of dignity for those crushed by oppression. This pursuit of recognition and respect was also the central goal of the radio station Lorraine Cœur d’Acier (LCA) at the end of the 1970s, which succeeded in bringing together a whole community fighting against the closing of steel works, through a new kind of medium: a pirate radio station.

The Radio Station Lorraine Cœur d’Acier In December 1978, the French Government ordered the axing of 22,000 jobs in the French steel industry. In Longwy, one of the Lorraine region’s steel industry strongholds, 6500 jobs out of a working population of 35,000 were due to be cut. Since the entire local employment market depended on the steel industry, all community members including teachers, shopkeepers, and subcontractors were aware that their livelihoods were being threatened. Mobilisation took the form of demonstrations and high-impact actions, but also embraced a more novel vehicle: the founding of a “pirate radio station” dedicated to the struggle of the Longwy community. Lorraine Cœur d’Acier was launched in March 1979 by the CGT trade union, but its shows were presented in a very independent way by two journalists, Marcel Trillat and Jacques Dupont. The free radio station serving the working-class community and voicing its struggle rapidly gained the attention of a wide audience of up to 100,000 listeners throughout the region, thus becoming one of the main leaders of the steelworkers’ and community’s movement. The salient points of this new media leader are discussed below. As opposed to the Père Duchesne/Jacques-René Hébert and the Cri du Peuple/Jules Vallès, here leadership was not embodied by an individual who provided an image for a mass of isolated egos, but by a collective platform offering to speak on behalf of the region’s population. This distinctive unifying voice was produced both by the listeners who were invited to speak in live broadcasts (from time to time or by presenting a

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regular programme), and by two professional journalists, Marcel Trillat and Jacques Dupont, contracted by the CGT. The freelance journalist Jacques Dupont already had extensive experience of “agitprop” and pirate radios before coming to Longwy; Marcel Trillat, a “permanent freelance” ORTF journalist until 1968, had been blacklisted since the May 1968 events. He had just been involved in an unsuccessful attempt to set up a pirate radio station in Montreuil. As sympathisers of the French Communist Party (PCF), the journalists set two conditions for their participation in this adventure: first the creation of a “high-profile” radio station, as Marcel Trillat put it, and second, full freedom of speech. The leader could not hope to federate the disconnected individuals if it was obliged to churn out hackneyed expressions and clichéd ideas for propaganda purposes. The idea was to go beyond activist circles and instead invite all town residents to air their views. A studio was set up in the town hall at the top of Longwy, and an aerial erected on the roof. When police movements were detected, the CGT’s security personnel raised the alarm, and the priest who was on the strikers’ side sounded the bell of the church, which was next to the town hall. The whole community came together to stop the police force. Action thus strengthened identification and adoption of the new medium. Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat always presented the live radio show in tandem. They quickly developed a strong bond and lent their voices to LCA. In a different way to the Père Duchesne and Cri du Peuple newspapers, but just as effectively because of radio’s capacity to stimulate listeners’ imagination, mediated speech was embodied physically and symbolically by the voices of the journalists, but even more so by their double act and rapport, which gave the radio show its distinctive style. As with the two previously discussed examples, the tone was often mocking, especially towards bosses and the powerful. For instance, the Express’s account of exclusive Parisian businessmen clubs was derided, as well as the dithering editorial line of the Républicain lorrain, Longwy’s regional daily newspaper, unable to choose between the industry leaders’ and regional elite’s interests and supporting the population. Amongst the conditions for LCA’s success, the context of a working-­ class struggle and the fact that a whole community came together to fight for jobs and its mere existence were undoubtedly decisive factors. However, the companionship of union and community protest did not explain everything. The ego ideal put forward by LCA should also be investigated.

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A Radio Show for All the Men and Women “Who Had Been Silenced” LCA’s first objective was to provide airtime for the Longwy community, allowing listeners to speak directly. Although this idea was not really new, it has always been difficult to implement. For what could feel stranger for a factory worker or a housewife to speak in public and talk about their lives on a radio show. Amongst the various programmes produced by the residents themselves, by teachers, shopkeepers and community activists, the show “Past and Present” hosted by Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat, which focussed on recounting the life stories of radio listeners provided an initial setting for them to find the right words to talk about themselves and put their experiences into words. Marcel Trillat recalled the show’s difficult beginnings: “When we asked them to tell us about their lives, they invariably replied ‘but I have nothing to say, my life isn’t interesting.”13 Both presenters succeeded in convincing a few listeners to speak on air about their lives and from then on, the show gathered momentum. “It became crazy. People arrived in droves, the studio was full, there was an incredible silence, and they realised that people were talking about things that were as interesting as what they had heard on television or at the cinema. The elites were not the only ones who had something to say.” Though reluctantly at first, women spoke about their suffering, about how they were treated with contempt by doctors when they gave birth or when they were prevented from having an abortion. They then spoke about their sex lives, contraception, the poor sound insulation of their flats stopping their love making and the full expression of their sensual sides. A left-wing Christian activist once said on air: “Because of the three-shift system, Usinor has robbed me of two-thirds of my nights of passion.” Through the radio show, they discovered that their lives could revolve around more than being a housewife, home worker or supporting their worker husbands through thick and thin, which showed a true transformation of their Ego Ideals. This speaking out in public changed the relationships that had crystallised over time amongst the Longwy community, shedding a new light on co-workers or the neighbours across the landing, who had become so familiar that one thought one knew everything there was to know about them. It changed the community structure and the relations between its 13  This quote and the following quotes are from an interview the author made of Marcel Trillat in November 2012.

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members. Jocelyne Casavecchia, an LCA presenter, recounted how the radio show opened hearts and souls: I was a CGT member, I was not a communist, but I really felt how the movement had freed the people of Longwy, and the union members, because it began with the union members, the Longwy union members who opened up in an incredible way. At least, those who were sincere. Because, the big problem with this radio station, for some people, was that you could not tell lies or cheat. You could only be sincere. It revealed what you were, the good and the bad, and for me, it was really a fantastic experience to discover the value of people, of people I liked, the people around me, people whom I really admired. Those people used to be silent. And they started talking, telling their life stories, how they came to France, how they crossed the Alps to escape fascism. It made me see people differently. […] Some very shy, really introverted people were able to speak up. In my opinion, if the broadcasting had taken place in a closed studio, with no noise, nothing, they would never have spoken up. Whereas there, you forgot about the microphones, you weren’t bothered about them. The doors were open, some people came in, others left, it was absolutely fine. (Barron et al. 2012)

The radio programme also enabled workers to speak about themselves, to view themselves differently, like Léonard Rizzu, a labourer from Sardinia who had become a voluntary radio engineer, or Marcel Donati, a hard-line fighter for workers’ rights at Usinor, who was a CGT member. The first discovered that his acute racism made no sense, and the second, that workers could also become intellectuals without betraying their class. Such intimate testimonies allowed a dual symbolic repositioning process to take place. Speaking up allowed a shift of focus, a redrawing of perceptions, a new self-awareness and adjustment of Ego Ideals; the way they were seen by others changed and people’s new images became part of the radio station as a new essential collective player. All the programmes were broadcast live, there was no rebroadcasting. Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat, but also the other journalists who replaced them from time to time, tried to take all the callers, without censoring any,14 even though the way in which the calls were dealt with certainly contributed to the gradual building of an acceptable “public persona” for listeners: the leader image. This image was very different to 14  Only the far-right Front National was not allowed on air, because as M. Trillat explained, “racism is not an opinion”.

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the images of Jacques-René Hébert and Jules Vallès, who were the embodiment of their respective newspapers. Instead, Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat stayed in the background, eliciting and clarifying the ideas of others rather than being the people’s direct spokesperson. This form of locutor-audience co-construction was more suited to the historical period, which was influenced by the 1970s’ far-left council communism. Competing groups claiming to represent and lead the working people realised the radio’s importance. The LCA radio project challenged the entire system of worker expression and representation, which had focused until then on trade-unionism and the communist vision of class relations. While it encouraged some to embrace activism, especially amongst women and immigrants, the “libertarian” style of Marcel Tillat and Jacques Dupont’s radio also created resistance, in particular amongst the national CGT executives. A muted battle then began between LCA and the CGT to see who was the legitimate community leader in Longwy. While most members of the local CGT branch had progressively converted to LCA’s ways of working, the national union executives were getting more and more annoyed about left-wing activists such as Alain Krivine or Daniel Cohn-Bendit going on air, especially since Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat kept highlighting what was wrong with PCF politics and the policies of the party’s Soviet “big brother”. In September 1979, the union announced that it would no longer pay the journalists’ wages, claiming it had plans to create other radio stations. LCA had to become self-­sufficient, asking for the help of its listeners by organising collections to cover expenses and wages. The listeners’ support of their radio station was more than a gesture of solidarity. Like in so-called primitive societies, producers directly supported the maintenance of their representative and leader, be he a priest or an army chief. Money also helped determine the price of speech and strengthen the bond between the leader and the group, insofar as the latter supported the leader financially through its collections. Unlike commercial media in which mercantile third parties play a role in the funding of a programme, thereby capturing part of the leader’s speech for their own benefit, here there was a direct relationship between locutors and recipients. However, the lack of institutional support had weakened LCA, especially since the struggle was running out of steam. During the summer holiday period of 1980, the CGT executives succeeded in taking over LCA and removing Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat from the radio, turning it into a mere mouthpiece for propaganda. The radio closed soon after.

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Identities of “Leaders” and the “Led” Based on her work on the Longwy radio archives, Ingrid Hayes (2013, p. 87) has argued that “LCA was not actually a self-production of the working class”. Out of 263 socially identifiable participants, she estimated that 133 were from “working-class backgrounds”, including 86 male union leaders, 20 female union, political or community leaders, and 27 women who were obviously not activists, apart from their involvement with the radio. Amongst the other 130 participants whom she considered not to be from a “working-class background”, she estimated that there was a gender-balanced combination of 40 teachers in the public sector, 5 doctors; 10 youth, community, and social workers employed in the health sector; 7 shopkeepers; and 23 artists and professionals in the media and cultural sectors. Beyond the fact that very few media could boast having such a high proportion of working-class contributors, such figures show that both the enunciator position and the leader role had not been achieved by following the rules of purely proportional democratic representation but through symbolic processes. What counted here was an imaginary persona, representing an enunciator figure in general—in this case the Lorraine Cœur d’Acier radio station—the impact of its speech, and the way in which it connected the isolated expectations of a mass of listeners. As we have seen for the Père Duchesne and Cri du Peuple newspapers, the act of utterance was not directly dependent on the social and cultural characteristics of the media leaders, but on the relationship that emerged between editors and audiences, as well as their linguistic style and content. LCA succeeded in becoming a leader, taking the place of the listeners’ Ego Ideals by producing programmes with the right amount of realism and self-development for the listeners to identify with it. Building Confidence by Establishing a National Reputation Self-development involves accessing a new social and symbolic position. One of LCA’s success factors was the national coverage of the Lorraine steel workers’ movement in the media and the appeal of this free speech experiment on air. Prominent figures from politics, the arts or the literary world came from Paris to sympathise with the struggle and support it, but also to take for themselves some of the symbolic capital that Lorraine Cœur d’Acier had rapidly gained as a practically self-managed radio promoting social protest and freedom of speech. Celebrities such as Georges Marchais, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Alain Krivine, Françoise Giroud, Jean-­ Jacques

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Servan-Schreiber, Renaud, Albert Jacquart, Georges Moustaki, or Guy Bedos all enjoyed some time on air. All these “Parisians” came to show their sympathy and solidarity with the grass-roots movement and workers and stage their support for this new form of working-class expression. In return, the Longwy LCA listeners gained widespread recognition, which strengthened their feelings of self-worth and greatly increased their resilience and their ability to campaign. In contemporary terms, using the vocabulary of cultural studies, this could be called a successful empowerment initiative, in that the community increased its power to act through the social dynamics created when it gained access in such favourable conditions to the regional and national media arena. But this was not only about capacity building or developing skills to assert their rights. There was a more profound shift on a symbolic level. This reversal in positions cancelled, at least partially, the stigma of misery and provincialism. LCA thus asserted itself as a symbolic forum for discussion between the intellectual and artistic Parisian world and the Lorraine working-class community, with each partner increasing the aura of the other. The radio station thus became a place where various forms of legitimacy and social capital could mingle, such as when the newspaper L’Humanité had a column by the writer Louis Aragon, or when the newspaper Libération used Jean-Paul Sartre’s support to try to establish itself in the 1970s as the only true left-wing newspaper. Creating an audience, that is, building a community of listeners or readers, means providing a space where they can feel esteemed. By participating in media as recipients or feedback providers, individuals became part of media, of a group, which gave them a positive identity, but also extended their social reach. By agreeing to be represented by their radio station, Longwy protesters collectively became famous on a national level. The leader not only made the decisions, it also provided a space for a community to come together as a group, allowing it to develop, flourish, and win attention and power.

The “Media Leader” Hypothesis in the Light of the Podemos Movement These three historical experiences of French politically engaged media serving the working people share common traits, which can be elucidated by Christian Geffray’s socio-analytical perspective. We attempt to synthesize the properties and actions of “media leaders” through a contemporary

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case study of the Spanish Podemos (“We can”) movement,15 whose main leaders became known by producing a new type of televised debate programme. By shifting the attention to another country and another medium, we may come closer to determining the conditions and ways of building political audiences. The essential question comes down to how the leader’s Ego Ideal replaces those of the audience members. How does a media outlet become a substitute for the “Name of the Father”? Christian Geffray draws on Sigmund Freud’s concept and expands on it using Jacques Lacan’s theory: after going through the Oedipus complex and symbolic patricide (founding an Ego Ideal from the Name of the Father), adolescence and the transmission of Us Ideals through the generations (“when the debt of life toward the dead is revealed”), individuals can take their place in the social sphere (Geffray 1997, pp. 157–167). In this perspective, media leaders are thus a metaphor for the Father, allowing projection onto them and identification with them, in other words, “the process of introjection of the father figure, which creates the Ego Ideal” (Geffray 1997, p.  158). We have shown how the embodiment of a media outlet in a leader figure made this exchange possible; using the Spanish example, we shall now discuss the issue of “why any population would choose an ego saying something rather than another ego saying something else for this exchange” (Geffray 1997, p. 172). Becoming Media “If the media do not come to you, then become the media”: this sentence by Pablo Iglesias (in Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 35), the figure of the movement who attracted the most media attention, describes in a few words the strategy used by a small group of activists from Madrid’s faculty of political science to widen their audience and introduce a new political discourse. Created in 2006, this circle of students and young lecturers in sociology and political science began to organise debates and agitprop actions at Madrid’s Complutense University. The space for political discourse opened up after the 2008 economic and political crisis, which severely affected the Spanish people, rekindling the population’s interest in politics. As observed previously, a revolutionary voice redefining the 15  A Spanish political party founded in 2014 to provide a political outlet for the Indignados movement launched in 2011.

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boundaries of what is possible can only exist in periods of crisis, when social structures break down under the strain of economic and social contradictions and new organisational forms have yet to emerge. A new leader may appear when a group of individuals cannot find in the existing media and political institutions a discourse expressing their somewhat inarticulate feelings. Individuals and their desires thus appear to be floating on their own, in an unconnected state, meaning that they are not engaged in routine expression, have not received assurance or have not been reassured that they belong to shared frameworks of perception or a common “frame of reference”. After having organised notable public debates at the university on the consequences of the financial crisis, the small group centred around Pablo Iglesias took over a political show on Télé K, a Madrilenian local television channel. La Tuerka (“the Nut”) was launched in November 2010, initially addressing an audience of left-leaning intellectuals, but the presenters came to realise that other people were watching the programme on the Internet, through digital social media, especially YouTube. This channel seemed to have been deserted by the radical left and traditional workers’ organisations, for whom television was a mere enslaving machine. La Tuerka got several left-wing and then right-wing political movements to sit down together to begin an open discussion, which widened its audience even more. These debates were more open, more spontaneous than on the big television channels, and to break away even more with the conventional style of usual current affairs programmes, La Tuerka ended with a transgressive “political rap” song, which contributed to the programme’s success. The 2008 crisis led in May 2011 to the “Indignados uprising” in large Spanish cities. Of course, La Tuerka activists got involved in this multifaceted movement of ad hoc citizen coalitions. As they did not belong to any political party, they were not afraid of speaking out or taking ideological risks, or of talking with all the people who, even without having any experience of politics demanded a real participatory democracy and criticised the “old parties”. Together, by acknowledging the “crisis of traditional narratives”, they attempted to “change the common meaning of politics” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 60). From then onwards, La Tuerka expanded its audience. The programme was broadcast on TNT television channels with larger audiences, and Pablo Iglesias became one of the media figures of the emerging movement, exploiting both his roles as a television presenter and an insurgent challenging an order that seemed to

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many to have run out of steam. Young, dressed in jeans and ponytailed, Iglesias stood out from other politicians, but more importantly, he disseminated new concepts in the public sphere and redefined the boundaries of terms such as regime, people, constituting process, or oligarchy. The main line was: “the impoverished people against the political and economic elites” (who see the crisis as an opportunity to continue to get rich), which corresponds to the “1% against the 99%” phrase of the Indignados.16 “We have swapped metaphors for other metaphors with a greater subversive potential. The boundaries do not disappear, they are redrawn” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 66). However, only a few months after the Indignados erupted on the political scene, the right wing won the general (legislative) elections in November 2011. Pablo Iglesias and his friends reflected upon how to convert their media work into a political opportunity: “A survey has found that 80% of people agree with the Indignados. So why are they voting for Mariano Rajoy’s conservative People’s Party?” The answer is that they could not find a political programme that suited them. So the activists gathered around La Tuerka decided to collaborate with community leaders to enter the political arena as Podemos, this time organised as a political party. “With La Tuerka and Fort Apache [a similar programme], we have obtained what we did not have: media leadership, an ingredient abhorred by the far-left, but which opens a space between the various strands of unstructured discontent. […] This leadership confirmed that our discourse was working, a discourse that proposed to storm ill-defined or half-empty signifying terms such as democracy, justice, fatherland, or decency, which until now had been in the hands of the powerful” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 67). Officially founded in March 2014, Podemos captured 8% of the votes and won five seats at the May 2014 European elections. At the general elections of December 2015, Podemos won 20.6% of the votes. During the early elections of June 2016, Podemos teamed up with Izquierda Unida, a remnant of the former Communist Party, with the intention of overtaking the PSOE (the Spanish workers socialist party), but this move 16  “We will look the 1% of people who have grabbed the assets of the other 99% in the eyes. We will help the people see clearly who is at the bottom and who is at the top. We will talk about the exhaustion of a model that eliminates the weakest people, destroys the natural environment, condemns future generations, and crushes the unsuccessful in its fiendish mill without hardly thinking about it” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 15).

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failed as the alliance stagnated at 21.1% of the votes, and more importantly, Podemos lost 1.2 million voters compared to the previous election. Although now firmly established in the Spanish political landscape, Podemos probably suffered the consequences of normalisation, made worse by its alliance with the communists and its stated intention to form a government coalition with the PSOE, which appeared to indicate that Pablo Iglesias’ movement was functioning more like an “old party”. The novel discourse promoting a break with the old order and its ability to forge new links between unconnected individuals may have become less relevant, as they became less important than organisational and tactical considerations. Lenin had already understood the deep relationship between revolutionary media and political leaders: both are leader figures. For the communist revolutionary, the first function of an activist newspaper was to bring people together, to be a “great collective organiser”. By serving the whole of Russia, a revolutionary newspaper had to help educate the workers and their leaders and guide the social system “like an enormous pair of smith’s bellows that would fan every spark of the class struggle and of popular indignation into a general conflagration” (Lenin 1902, p. 211). It is not known whether revolutionary speech causes disorder or whether frustration produces revolutionary speech, but for Lenin, the battle had to be fought first in the realm of discourse (hence the attention paid to propaganda) whereas for other revolutionaries, such as Nikolaï Nadiéjdine, a newspaper was useless if it was not based on strong local political organisations. All thinkers of “revolutionary” collective action have debated about what comes first, organisation or mobilising speech (see for instance Charles Tilly 1978). As pointed out by Fabien Granjon (2015), Lenin’s position towards the revolutionary press changed with his revolutionary praxis. The “pair of bellows fanning the spark” would also become the newspaper of the party, the latter being “the producer of a true class consciousness”, the local communist people’s media being reduced to transmitting the official line of Iskra (which remained an “intellectual” newspaper). The leader, which assumes a prophetic role in the sense used by Pierre Bourdieu, in that it manages to put what were implicit expectations into articulated speech, proposes a new discourse on things, to which human beings can relate in the light of their experience. Frustration and protest, social and political unrest are the additional ingredients causing such expectations to become more pressing and allowing a new political

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expression to emerge, as seen in the three previous case studies. In a context of protest mobilisation in the face of deprivation and of the voicing of resentment, the leader’s innovative words open up new possibilities because they shape latent expectations through a utopian vision. When there is no utopian dimension to serve as an ideal point of convergence, mass mobilisation may simply not occur or may withdraw behind conservative, xenophobic or reactionary slogans (usually dependent on the restoration of a fantasy golden age suddenly considered to have been achievable for centuries), which do not especially create a lasting connection between individuals. The Strength of Speech It should appear obvious by now that the different rhetorical techniques used by media leaders to build audiences all look similar, insofar as they are based on a break with traditional, standard, or scholarly language, which, as the language used by elites, is the dominant language in society. Language crudeness is closely associated with the narrative of an open access to media space, no longer restricted to the learned who can “speak properly”. Pablo Iglesias and his comrades were careful to let go of academic language even though this was the same language through which they had learned to think about politics. The recognition of a way of speaking has immediate political implications in that positions may be overturned, and hierarchies threatened. By reallocating the right to speak and determining which speech forms are legitimate, the leader is reallocating social positions. The leader’s speech does not exist on its own, without roots. It fits into a network of many public messages, which may be considered to be a political sphere as well as a media space. In abandoning legitimate norms, it seeks to effect a kind of symbolic revolution in the sphere in order to carve out a more favourable position for itself. This was true for the Père Duchesne, since reading the newspaper in public had become a sign of good revolutionary conduct, for the Cri du Peuple, whose audience extended far beyond the far-left thanks to the respected personality of its founder, and for Lorraine Cœur d’Acier, which succeeded in bringing working-class Lorraine to the attention of the media and Parisian celebrities. In the case of La Tuerka, some of whose presenters, such as Juan Carlos Monedero, took inspiration from Gramsci and had advised

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left-­wing movements in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, it also involved a struggle for cultural hegemony: The political discourse is built now more than ever on audio-visual devices and products. And what is actually happening here is a struggle to define reality. Personally, I do not like the terms alternative media or counter-­information because they confine us to a subordinate, marginal role, and make our task more challenging at a time when we are battling for control of reality and fighting to define concepts [such as sovereignty, democracy, etc.]. (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 35)

La Tuerka programmes also provided activists with “ammunition to continue fighting on one of the battle fronts: the one concerned with defining reality” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 30). This new description of the real world was a way of accessing motility, as defined by Christian Geffray. Revolutionary media only succeed in gathering actual audiences if they allow motility, the fulfilment of desires that cannot be satisfied individually. This is the reason why they differ greatly from entertainment media, which offer no other satisfaction than is provided by media reception, which is limited to the time spent consuming them. Revolutionary media are conquering media, which help develop human beings and their powers. They are not simply media for relaxing, for helping the workforce get its strength back or providing psychological reassurance by reminding them of boundaries and life’s routine markers: “Discourse does not describe the real world, but it is a practice producing both meaning and reality” (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 65). To be able to redefine the real world, the processes allowing audience feedback within media are essential, not only because they allow recognition, but also because audience feedback—the practice of contradictory debate—is absolutely essential to enable views to change.17 All the media outlets discussed have tried to give audiences a role within themselves. The leader’s speech should be entirely novel and at the same time, already present in the addressees’ horizons of expectations. This tension is expressed in the differing opinions of two Podemos leaders. Luis Giménez (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 66) believes that “amongst the people advocating a complete change, zapatism has done a lot of harm, 17  Current research on didactics agrees on the importance of feedback to “get learners to give up their initial representations for more definite knowledge” (Weisser 2009, p. 103).

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‘proceeding while at the same time being attentive’. Listening is important, but saying things is just as important […]. If you want somebody to notice you, you have to suggest things. […] Politics is more than the art of listening. What people want is also produced by suggesting, offering new leaderships, new symbols, new interpretations of facts. […] Politics is about building what is signified. And to build is to propose, even if things do not always work out.” For Carolina Bescansa (Domínguez and Giménez 2015, p. 80), the opposite is true: “We have not invented anything, we are merely saying what people were already saying.” The Leader’s Dual Nature Systematically siding with “ordinary people” against the “powerful” is not just a linguistic posture, it involves all the locutor’s being, including his/ her body. Through speech, media leaders bring unconnected individuals to come together through a process on two levels, narrative and material, which enables a connection between the imagined and the symbolic (here we distinguish between the two). For all, the Père Duchesne or the Cri du Peuple were paper objects, while Lorraine Cœur d’Acier was a collective voice broadcast over the air. Such agents were narrative figures, representing collective players. No one believes that the Père Duchesne actually existed or that the Cri du Peuple and Jules Vallès were one and the same. Lorraine Cœur d’Acier was a companion in the daily struggle, but by essence not somebody one could meet on the streets. A media outlet’s identity belongs to the realm of representation and the imagined, its existence is purely conventional. At the same time, however, such figures exist on a symbolic level. They seem to have a tangible existence by appearing to be the embodiment of real people: when Jacques-René Hébert no longer eschewed the values championed by the Père Duchesne, he was politically and physically finished; the Cri du Peuple did not survive Jules Vallès’s death; and Lorraine Cœur d’Acier was first embodied by the voice and close relationship between Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat. When the CGT tried to sustain the radio station without these journalists, the audience turned its back on it. Therefore, a person—the leader—must lend his/her body to the addressees. The leader does not just articulate a discourse which meets the aspirations and expectations of isolated and frustrated individuals; he/she

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must offer his/herself (his/her body) as a substitute for the Ego Ideals of this expectant population, and on a psychological level, replace the recipients’ Ego Ideals with his/her Ego image, thus creating an Us through this connection. The process of exchanging Ego Ideals for the Ego image of a media leader enables us to understand the possible discrepancy between a locutor’s social and material condition and his/her symbolic function in the communication process. Jacques-René Hébert was and was not the Père Duchesne, a legendary figure of the people (both mythical and real); Jules Vallès was and was not the Cri du Peuple, the embodiment of a unified revolutionary socialist family; Jacques Dupont and Marcel Trillat were and were not Lorraine Cœur d’Acier, the radio station that became the mouthpiece of all the workers who had been silent until then. Pablo Iglesias was and was not La Tuerka, the political programme that heralded Podemos. The Père Duchesne created the sans-culotte group; the Cri du Peuple created unity amongst all workers as dreamed by Marx; Lorraine Cœur d’Acier created a utopian democracy inspired by council communism and workers’ self-management; and La Tuerka created a political path for the Indignados protest. Journalists of media serving the people do not necessarily have to be factory or office workers. On the contrary, it is useful for there to be a gap, a degree of convention, “a realistic illusion working on a second level of interpretation”,18 as shown by the very effective tales of the Père Duchesne interacting with the world’s elite or his drinking mates. Nevertheless, social likeness cannot be entirely fictional, nor can it remain just a caricature: journalists and readers must be connected by a common ethos, without which an appropriate style cannot be found for their communication contract. Pablo Iglesias’s pleasant appearance, his quips and charming smile may cease to have an effect on his audience if he appears to be behaving like a politician out of touch with the people. Difficulties arise when the narrative convention through which the media leader figure is introjected in the recipients’ Ego Ideals is interfered with by other representation forms (for instance, Jacques-René Hébert and Pablo Iglesias lost some of their ability to rally the people when they sought ministerial office). 18  The phrase was coined by A.-M. Thiesse (1984, p. 46), who believed that “popular reading assumes and applies conventional realism and a distancing from the real world”.

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Conclusion A media outlet whose purpose is a radical transformation of society is thus a leader; its effectiveness, or, its ability to build specific audiences mainly depends on the way in which its Ego is offered as a substitute for the Ego Ideals of each recipient. By offering their Egos, media leaders therefore agree to sacrifice themselves, or more precisely their “bodies” to become embodied symbolic images or social representations. One last characteristic of the leader, which has more to do with anthropology than communication, is to facilitate a connection with forebears and the world of the dead, that is, to establish a relatedness and a common culture or spirit between the group members. In previous work (Goulet 2010), we have observed that for communist activists L’Humanité was more than a daily newspaper. Reading the daily paper was an act of belonging, and crucially, it seemed to lay down the “Law”, a Name of the Father form, and even, specifically, a “Name of the Leaders” form, and in this particular case, these were “Dead Leaders” (Geffray 1997, p. 164). For Michel, an electrical technician, “L’Huma” as it was called was more than a newspaper, it was a “monument”, symbolising “Jaurès, rotary presses during the Occupation of France, the comrades who were shot…. There was a deep respect for all these comrades” (Goulet 2010, p. 149). Even though he did not really read the paper, this activist continued to get it delivered to show he belonged to the communist family or lineage. By projecting themselves onto the newspaper’s Ego Ideal, the readers not only identify with living leaders, who can be thought to be the editorial team, but also with all the dead leaders who enabled the editors to articulate a new discourse about the real world. And because such leaders promise to be faithful to their word until death, they are able to rally an audience and set in motion the people whom they have helped form into a group. This process was observed during the demonstrations that occurred in France after the killing of several editors of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. This could be called a “posthumous media leader”, but the context is too different to be included in this study.19 The anthropological and analytical approach we have sketched out here for research purposes could probably be extended to other kinds of 19  See http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/vincent-goulet/160115/charlie-hebdo-un-mediameneur-titre-posthume, available on 20/02/17.

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audiences provided that they are not understood as being mere aggregations of individuals subjected solely to the mercantile rules of the media arena. “Being an audience” is not only a cultural practice, and even less a consumption practice, but it involves handing over the idealistic part of the self, the Ego Ideal, to another locutor, and by delivering themselves in such a way, individuals can be said to participate in a collective reality beyond themselves.

References Agostini, A. (1999). La pensée politique de Jacques-René Hébert. Aix-en-Provence: Presses universitaires d’Aix-Marseille. Barron, P., Mouterde, R., & Rouziès, F. (2012). Un morceau de Chiffon rouge, 5 CDs boxset. Montreuil: VO Editions. Birnbaum, P. (1979). Le peuple et les gros. Histoire d’un mythe. Paris: Grasset & Fasquelle. Burstin, H. (2005). L’Invention du sans-culotte, regard sur le Paris révolutionnaire. Paris: Odile Jacob. Cardon, D., & Granjon, F. (2013). Médiactivistes. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Charaudeau, P. (1997). Le discours d’information médiatique. La construction du miroir social. Paris: Ina/Nathan. Domínguez, A., & Giménez, L. (Eds.). (2015). Podemos, sûr que nous pouvons. Paris: Indigènes éditions. Freud, S. (1921). Psychologie des foules et analyse du moi [Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego: The Future of an Illusion]. Paris: Éd. Payot et Rivages, 2012. Geffray, C. (1997). Le nom du Maître. Contribution à l’anthropologie analytique. Strasbourg: Arcanes. Goulet, V. (2010). Médias et classes populaires. Les usages ordinaires des informations. Bry-sur-Marne: Ina Éditions. Goulet, V. (2015). Médias: Le peuple n’est pas condamné à TF1 ! Paris: Textuel. Granjon, F. (2015). Vladimir Ilitch Lénine: parti, presse, culture et révolution. Contretemps. http://www.contretemps.eu/culture/vladimir-ilitchl%C3%A9nine-parti-presse-culture-r%C3%A9volution. Gurr, T. (1970). Why Men Rebel. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Hayes, I. (2013). Les limites d’une médiation militante. L’expérience de Radio Lorraine Coeur d’Acier, Longwy, 1979–1980. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 1(196–197), 84–101. Jauss, H. (1978). Pour une esthétique de la réception. Paris: Gallimard [Esthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics. M.  Shaw, Trans. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982].

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Laplanche, J., & Pontalis, J.-B. (1967). Vocabulaire de la psychanalyse. Paris: Quadrige/Presses universitaires de France. Lenin. (1902). Que faire ? Pékin: Éditions en langues étrangères, 1974. Méadel, C. (1986). Publics et mesures, une sociologie de la radio. Rapport CSI-CNRS. Quéré, L. (2003). Le public comme forme et comme modalité d’expérience. In D.  Cefaï & D.  Pasquier (Eds.), Les sens du public. Publics politiques, publics médiatiques (pp. 113–134). Paris: Presses universitaires de France. Sternhell, Z. (1997). La droite révolutionnaire. 1885–1914. Paris: Gallimard. Thiesse, A.-M. (1984). Le Roman du quotidien. Lecteurs et lectures populaires à la Belle Époque. Paris: Le Seuil, 2000. Tilly, C. (1978). From Mobilization to Revolution. New York: Random House. Weisser, M. (2009). Espaces didactiques: conditions micro sociales de l’apprentissage. Éducation et didactique, 3/22. http://educationdidactique. revues.org/474. Zévaès, A. (1932). Jules Vallès: son œuvre. Paris: Éditions de la Nouvelle revue critique.

CHAPTER 6

Occupation: “Net Cleaner”—The Socio-­ economic Issues of Comment Moderation on French News Websites Nikos Smyrnaios and Emmanuel Marty

The long-shared belief in the positive, inclusive values of online expression has resulted, in France and elsewhere, in the establishment of online participation systems wherein the media have acquired a significant role. Many of these systems—such as the comment spaces underneath articles, the creation of blog platforms by regional and national daily newspapers, and even the development of editorial lines that take reader opinions and suggestions into account—were designed to enable those opinions, which were for a long time confined to the letters to the editor section of the print press, to become visible online in all their diversity. However, another, invisible hand was needed so that this could happen. That hand belonged to the comment moderator. Rapidly overwhelmed by the scope of the task and the resources required to do so, the media either closed their comment spaces or else outsourced this job to specialists. In France, moderating is an oligopolistic market, where only three companies operate.

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_6

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Emmanuel Marty and Nikos Smyrnaios studied the company that appeared to offer the best quality services, Atchik Services, which does not offshore its business. All its moderators work in France, which should mean they are more informed of the cultural context and current affairs, and have better working conditions. In the months following the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015, resulting in 130 deaths, researchers collected their data in two stages. They conducted semi-structured interviews with employees of Atchik Services from different hierarchical levels, from moderator to CEO.  The second stage consisted of a computer-assisted analysis of a sample of more than 29,000 published and unpublished comments sent to websites of three media moderated by the company. In this way, the authors reveal four rationales that govern access to visibility: the sociopolitical context, the legal framework, the medias’ editorial and marketing strategies and the economic strategies of the moderation services. First published in Smyrnaios N., Marty E., 2017. Profession « nettoyeur du net ». De la modération des commentaires sur les sites d’information français, Réseaux, 2017/5 (n° 205), pp. 57–90. DOI: 10.3917/res.205.0057. URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-reseaux-2017-5-page-57.htm Translated by: Niamh O’Brien (Coup de Puce Expansion)

The dominant paradigm of the Internet’s participatory online culture has long been the ideal type of public expression that is by definition positive and inclusive, forged by English-speaking authors whose work simultaneously touches on the academic, journalistic and business spheres (Rebillard 2007). This deterministic and inherently positive conception of the

N. Smyrnaios Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherches Appliquées en Sciences Sociales (LERASS), Université de Toulouse, Toulouse, France e-mail: [email protected] E. Marty (*) Groupe de recherche sur les enjeux de la communication (GRESEC), Université Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France e-mail: [email protected]

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Internet as a medium of public participation has greatly influenced the dominant journalistic discourse, often expressed by news editors as an “obligation to participate” (Asdourian et  al. 2015). The effect of this imposition has led to widespread participatory systems such as reader comment spaces, and their use has intensified (Domingo et al. 2008). In France, these practices became popular beginning in 2007,1 the same year that the website Rue89, the first news website explicitly claiming to operate on a participatory basis, was created. It was followed by Mediapart in 2008. However, in recent times we appear to be witnessing a gradual reversal of this paradigm, as the initial enthusiasm has waned into disenchantment. Due to the combined effect of the economic crisis and growing geopolitical tensions, hate speech has found fertile ground in the comments sections of news websites, and they have taken up considerable space (Ervajec and Poler Kovacic 2012). There has also been a rise in smear campaigns and the manipulation of public opinion (Karatzogianni 2015). Meanwhile, digital publications now have to deal with the economic constraints of managing user participation. This requires time-consuming supervision that is hard to maintain in the long term, with journalists working under pressure at a time when the media are growing economically weaker (Degand 2011). A counter-movement therefore began to form with the end of the more ambitious initiatives such as the Guardian’s “Newsdesk Live”, a news team blog open to reader contribution.2 In France, Rue89, permanently in debt since its launch, was bought by Le Nouvel Observateur, and this revealed the economic limits of the participatory model (Smyrnaios 2013). Since then, various strategies have been put in place by news publishers for comment filtering, such as simply removing the comments section for some or all of the articles, an obligatory sign-in, sometimes requiring an eponymous profile, and stricter moderation (Goodman et al. 2013). The gradual limitations of the comments sections alongside the articles and stricter supervision went hand in hand with the shift of current events discussions to social media, especially Facebook (Jouët and Le Carroff 2013). Without dedicating significant resources internally—aside from exceptional examples such as the Guardian—news sites that maintain comments beneath their articles mostly do so to retain their readers by making use of this low-cost content, rather than to maintain a real discussion or improve on the information provided. A reliable indication of the 1  There was a twenty-fold increase in the volume of content moderated by one of the main providers of this type of service in that election year. Source: Interview with Corchia David, “Gérer le participatif”, Politiques de communication, 1/2016 (no. 6), pp. 113–134. 2  http://www.inaglobal.fr/presse/article/news-desk-live-le-making-de-l-informationdu-guardian.

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importance of the comments to news media is the fact that moderation is usually outsourced and industrialized. In France, with the exception of a rare few, comments moderation—sometimes there are tens of thousands of comments a month—is outsourced by the news sites to three specialized contractors: Netino, Concileo and Atchik. These companies were unknown until 2012, when they started to feature in rare reports which revealed a growing interest in their business.3 It wasn’t until 2015, in the wake of the attacks that struck the Paris area, that moderators began publishing their accounts, incensed by the violence of the comments they were reading on a daily basis.4 The exposure of this activity, the scope of which had remained hidden until that point, was proof of the increasingly significant role it had acquired as a contemporary form of the monitoring of public opinion, similar to the radio switchboard operators that filtered listeners’ calls (Cardon 1995). Moderation is now central to a number of political, socioeconomic and legal issues concerning the control of online public opinion, which, in addition to news media, major platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are also having to deal with. They too use moderation services to filter their users’ comments and define what can be seen online and what cannot (Roberts 2016). The functioning of these services thereby directly influences the pluralism of opinions and the types of expression found in the digital public space. This chapter takes the pivotal role of moderation into consideration in order to analyse the rationales that govern its functioning, in the case of comments produced by visitors to French news websites. This analysis is based on a unique study combining two parts: a survey through interviews and observation at Atchik, one of the three main providers of moderation services in France, and a computer-assisted and comparative analysis of a sample of messages published (approved) and not published (rejected) by three news sites following the November 2015 attacks.

3  http://www.telerama.fr/medias/les-moderateurs-du-net-ont-par fois-leblues,90061.php and http://www.streetpress.com/sujet/126129-bon-plan-ces-grandsmedias-qui-sous-traitent-en-afrique. 4  For example, http://www.bastamag.net/Apres-les-attentats-de-Paris-une-moderatricede-sites-de-presse-en-ligne and http://leplus.nouvelobs.com/contribution/1490296moderatrice-de-commentaires-je-chasse-le-troll-certains-me-font-perdre-foi-en-l-humanite.html.

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The Role of Comments in News Production At first glance, it would appear that moderators are hardly considered in studies that look at news websites’ participatory systems. The topic of participatory systems is generally approached by focussing on the issues facing the news publishers. The studies that first examined how participatory systems are incorporated into the journalist’s work routine looked at the issue in terms of the tension and concerns that this new concept generates among journalists (Hermida and Thurman 2008). In the mid-2000s, these journalists experienced contradictory tendencies. On the one hand, under pressure from management and in order “to keep up with the trend”, they tried incorporating user generated content into their production routines, but at the same time they were concerned about the legal and editorial risks involved. What’s more, this challenging of the journalist’s privilege as “gatekeeper” sparked intense ethical and philosophical debate among news editors and in relation to their superiors (Lewis et al. 2009). This debate occasionally spilled over into the comments section where there was strong disagreement between journalists and commenters, and which mainly centred around the notion of anonymity (Reader 2012). Commenters consider that anonymity ensures freedom of expression, whereas journalists believe that this is a major cause of the lack of courtesy in the discussions. Most journalists therefore remain extremely sceptical as to reader contribution, especially in offshoots of traditional media (Nielsen 2014). Journalists most often justify their scepticism towards amateur comments partly by the workload generated by comment moderation but their critique is mostly based on ethical and professional standards. Another rationale prevails among the “web  pure-player” journalists, who are closest to their readership (Bousquet et al. 2015). It implies permanent interaction and adjustment between journalists and a specific fringe of their audience, the members of which play the roles of expert, source, commenter and reader. Inspired by this model, some digital outlets set up specific formats, such as live blogging, which encourages direct interaction between journalists and Internet users, and which is successful in terms of audience (Marty et al. 2016). But these systems are also subject to filtering and editorial control processes that remain mostly invisible to the public, and are designed to further the media’s objectives. Media outlets with large audiences use the comments sections mainly as a way of increasing reader involvement, while minimising the resulting legal risks

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(Engaging News Project 2014). This marketing-influenced vision sees reader participation as a “technical” issue, which can be managed by a third party and industrialised.

Moderation Logic and the Invisible Moderator The industrialisation of moderation is a result of the rise in the number of methods designed to improve the detection and removal of comments that break the law, rank comments according to their quality based on recommendation and annotation systems, and to reward and retain the most regular commenters (Morrison 2017). This way, technical and marketing expertise affects editorial choices, and the resulting tool restricts the news media’s production system (Cabrolié 2010). Furthermore, the main providers of moderation services in France were originally technology companies offering editors publication solutions, content management, forums and SMS messaging services. Faced with rising demand from their customers, they gradually developed platforms that employ moderators and community managers that work for both the media and brands or political bodies (parties, local and regional authorities, ministries, etc.). Outsourcing requires an official comment selection process, via a contract established as an editorial guideline that sets out the moderation rules chosen by the editor and with which the contractor must comply. The rare empirical studies that focus on the rationale and workings of outsourced moderating show that these contracts are based on three pillars: the legal obligations incumbent on the editor and which vary from one country to another; certain ethical and professional journalism standards, the nature and content of which also vary depending on the circumstances; and lastly, each media outlet’s editorial policy (Pöyhtäry 2014; Trygg 2012). However, these formal rules are applied in a hyper-­ competitive economic context, characterised by heightened pressure on the cost of moderation, and a political situation in which we are seeing a rise in aggressive, xenophobic and sexist rhetoric online (Coe et al. 2014). All of these factors have a direct impact on moderators’ working conditions and moderating experience, and by extension on how they make their moderating choices. But this aspect is today missing in studies that focus on participatory systems. This shortcoming is most likely due to the difficulty in accessing suitable fields for survey, but also because invisibility is inherent to the moderator’s function (Roberts 2016).

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One of the few systematic observations, conducted by Sarah T. Roberts (2014) in Silicon Valley during her doctoral research, shows nonetheless that the economic pressure on moderation is reflected in the organisational methods aiming to increase productivity and reduce production costs, at the expense of moderators’ working conditions. Specifically, this means that first of all there is widespread outsourcing of moderation to subsidiaries located in developing countries, and also that highly qualified people are employed in developed countries in difficult working conditions (job security, difficult hours, low salaries, etc.). These characteristics can be found among the French market leaders of comment moderation. In addition, as Roberts shows, employees of these companies are constantly dealing with cognitive conflict, meaning the contradiction between their ideas, their representation and the choices they must make in their moderating activity. Being in permanent contact with racist and violent content also leads to psychological and mental fatigue that can be hard to deal with. To add to this, work in a moderation company is particularly tedious while simultaneously demanding in cognitive resources, information-­dense and extremely controlled. This makes its organisation very similar to customer service call centres, characterised by standardisation, quantified objectives, formal procedures and omnipresent supervision (Buscatto 2002).

Method A survey within the moderation company Atchik Services was carried out between February and March, 2016. It was made up of six semi-­structured interviews with people employed in different positions within the company (CEO, COO, social media manager, supervisor and moderators) with varying sociological profiles. These interviews lasted approximately one hour for each and were accompanied by an on-site observation of the activity, with a particular focus on the tools and methods used. We completed our survey with a list of newspaper articles about the company and its activities (Fig. 6.1). The study was compounded with a computer-assisted analysis of a sample of more than 29,000 comments sent to three French news websites, clients of Atchik (one national radio station and two regional dailies5), over a period of three days immediately after the attacks that happened in 5

 They requested that their names not be published in our study.

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Designation

CEO

COO

Function

Age

Education level

Career path

Chief Executive Officer

52

Masters in Economics and Political

Former journalist

Chief Operating

37

Science

Officer

SV

Moderating team

34

supervisor

CM

Social Media Manager

32

Masters in Communication and Media

Former local press

Management, Masters in Philosophy

executive

Secondary education (4 years spent in

Formerly employed by

third level education in arts and

the Ministry of National

languages, degree not obtained)

Education

Masters in Communication

Former communicator for an administrative authority

MH

Moderator (male)

35

Secondary education (currently enrolled

Various manual jobs

in a two-year computer science course)

MF

Moderator (female)

30

Masters in Information and

Research Librarian

Communication

Fig. 6.1  Table showing the people interviewed (authors’ work)

Paris in November 2015. Careful examination of both the content of the messages and their metadata (timestamp of the comment, commenter’s pseudonym, type of moderation, reason for and result of moderation), facilitated by statistics from semantic analysis tools and methods,6 made it 6  In particular the calculation of lexical specificities (Lafon 1984) and the descending hierarchical classification (Reinert 1983), two standard methods of lexical analysis performed by Iramuteq, a text analysis software (Ratinaud 2014).

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possible to identify certain connections between the socioeconomic conditions of those performing the moderation and their tangible manifestations in a vast corpus of comments. The reason for this dual approach is firstly due to the unique nature of these two fields. Empirical studies on the working conditions and profiles of moderators are extremely rare. Furthermore, as Hughey and Daniels (2013) point out, the vast majority of studies that are based on comment content analysis focus on corpora that have already gone through a moderating process. This leads to a significant methodological bias. If the only comments studied are those that are published—and have therefore been validated by the moderators—this ignores the way in which moderators shape the visibility of readers’ opinions. These two empirical shortcomings therefore make it impossible to logically connect the material conditions of moderation to its tangible result. Yet one of the aims of this chapter is to compare the practice of moderating, embedded in a wider socioeconomic framework and shaped by a range of legal, technical and industry-related constraints, with what it produces, that is, published texts and unpublished—hence invisible— texts. This dual approach appears to be the best way of addressing the specific context of the attacks, characterised by extremely intense emotions and a vast flow of messages that challenged the organisation of the moderation system.

The Moderation Market in France The moderation market in France is an oligopolistic sector shared among three companies. The biggest is Netino, founded in 2002 by Jean-Marc Royer and acquired in 2010 by Jérémie Mani, an online marketing entrepreneur. Their client portfolio features the biggest names in French media, such as Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, the JDD, Le Point, L’Express, Les Echos and La Tribune. The biggest contracts, such as their contract for the Le Monde website, are worth more than €20,000 monthly, for the moderation of 100,000 comments on average. Netino’s revenue for 2015 was €3.6 million. In 2014, the company employed more than 400 people, most of whom are based in Madagascar. Netino, whose headquarters is in Paris, dominates the market by offering extremely competitive rates, made possible by offshoring its production so it can pay its moderators salaries equivalent to a quarter of the French minimum wage for 48 hours of work

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per week7. Some of its Madagascan employees are not entitled to employee status, but are paid as independent contractors, which further reduces the cost of hiring them while making their work situations more precarious. With revenue of around €2 million, Concileo is the number two on the market. Concileo was founded in 2000 by David Corchia, a former marketing executive in the film industry. The company’s clients include well-­ known media websites such as Le Figaro, 20 Minutes, TF1, Radio France Group and a number of local newspaper websites. Like Netino, Concileo opted to offshore some of its workforce by creating a subsidiary in Morocco called Be Colors, which employed around 40 people in 2014 for a salary equivalent to half the French minimum wage, for 43  hours of work per week. Concileo does however have around 15 moderators in France, for clients that demand high-quality work. This “high-end” niche is what Atchik Services, the market no. 3 and focus of this study, targets. Founded by Bertrand Darrouzet, former telecommunications executive, Atchik has a subsidiary in Denmark and another in France. In the past, its business was developing software solutions for mobile telecommunications operators, which still generates most of its revenue today. Gradually, beginning in the mid-2000s, the company began offering moderation services alongside the IT services it offered its clients. Today it positions itself in marketing and customer relations. I was recruited in 2006 to moderate Orange’s paid WAP chat services such as Zapzone for under-18s. People talked about video games, but it was mostly for dating and sex. It was an ancient Internet service, almost of archaeological interest, where you had to stop things getting out of hand. MH At the beginning of the 2000s, moderation was part of the software package. Initially it was to avoid legal risks, then there was the issue of image and reputation, then marketing. To have an audience you have to control the content. Today our goal is to develop community management, customer relations, after-sales service, technology watch, etc. CEO

Atchik’s moderation service and community management is based in Toulouse, which is presented as a hallmark of quality. French moderators are thought to have a better grasp of current events in the country, as well 7  Source: http://www.streetpress.com/sujet/126129-bon-plan-ces-grands-medias-quisous-traitent-en-afrique.

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as its culture and history, which allows them to moderate with a sharper eye. In this highly price-competitive market, the claim of quality appears to work well, as Atchik successfully lured away two of Concileo’s clients, RTL and Le Parisien, in the month prior to our survey. The company developed this business in the past with its long-time client Orange and its news portal, but it also works for a number of regional daily websites. In 2014, Atchik also won a prestigious bid to moderate the Facebook page  of the French Presidency. In 2015, Atchik generated overall revenue of around €3.2 million for a deficit of €130,000. However, according to the CEO, the moderating and community management activities are just about profitable and are expanding, because its revenue rose by 30% between 2014 and 2015.

Moderators’ Working Conditions The moderation market is therefore structured by high competition in terms of prices and consequently in terms of production costs. Atchik must remain attractive in comparison to competitors who have offshored most of their services. This is a recurring notion in the managers’ discourse and seems to have been internalised by the employees. While there is genuine respect among management for the labour code in terms of working hours, holidays and minimum wage, for example, the company’s human resources policy remains restrictive. Moderators and community managers are paid the minimum wage. Supervisors and social media mangers earn a few hundred euros more, but their pay is still below €1600 monthly, the median salary for French workers. Tension over salary levels emerges periodically, for example when the community manager function was introduced. Management had to agree to a salary increase, but went back on their decision a few years later when the balance of power with employees changed. When I became a CM, we negotiated our terms, salary raise and on-call hours, because we were working 24/7. They weren’t provided for. They were relying on us to be CMs while working hours similar to an independent executive, but paid a moderator’s salary. We managed to get a raise once the activity began. There were three CMs, we stated clearly what we wanted, which was a small raise above the moderator salary. We negotiated that, but I know that management will push as far as they can go. Because the company isn’t doing well, or rather it wasn’t at the time, and because they’re running a business. If they can get away with paying you the same salary, they will. MH

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Since there are a lot of candidates, they took away the CM bonus because they think that having a more interesting job is enough reward in itself. MF

Atchik’s employees are extremely qualified, nonetheless. They must be able to use complex technical tools, have good general knowledge and be aware of what’s going on in the news. That’s why the recruitment tests are tough. For recruitment, we start with a general knowledge test: who is Goebbels, what does DSK stand for, etc. There’s no required qualification to apply. But to do this job you need to have a certain detailed knowledge of what’s going on in the world. Common sense is important: you need to know that bougnoule (raghead) is a pejorative term for Arabs. Candidates then have around fifty messages to moderate followed by a spelling test. COO

Management insist on the fact that university degrees are not essential to do the work of a moderator. That is why the job description only requires a secondary education diploma or higher. The company does however highlight the “quality” of its services while mentioning that its employees are recruited with a minimum of a two-year higher education diploma. In reality, the majority of the company’s employees have third-level qualifications, and many of them have Master’s degree. The explanation employees give to justify accepting a job with such a low salary is the difficulty they experienced in finding stable employment in their chosen field. I’m 30, I have a technical diploma in Communication and Media, a degree in Communication and Media and a Masters from CELSA (French communication and journalism school). I couldn’t find a job in communication or documentation (as a school research librarian), all I managed to find were short-term contracts. So I chose Atchik because they offered a permanent contract. I met them at a career fair, and they called me in desperation when the attacks happened in January 2015 (…). On the job description it says secondary education, but in reality, the lowest qualification in the team, with a few exceptions, is a Bachelor’s degree. MF

Whereas most of the members of the team are highly qualified, in other cases employees attended courses but didn’t graduate with a degree. In such a situation, a moderator position offers working conditions as well as the potential for symbolic recognition and career development that would otherwise be out of reach.

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Supervising is more interesting, but there are a lot more responsibilities and hours, so I don’t think I’ll work here until I retire. Today I earn €1400, moderators are on minimum wage; it’s not much for a supervisor but moderating hours are tough. That’s why I became a supervisor, because I’ve a family and I prefer to have fixed hours (from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.). What’s more, for someone with no third level qualification, I have a high level of responsibility—I send text messages directly to Romain Pigenel (one of François Hollande’s advisors, in charge of the French Presidency’s Facebook page), which is rewarding symbolically. SV I worked on building sites where I earned minimum wage like here, but when I got home in the evening my hands were ruined. Here I sit in an air-­ conditioned office, I’m in front of a computer. I’ve always loved computers, and I click. Of course, you can’t imagine a future here. You’d have to be very strange to imagine yourself as a moderator a few years down the road. If I get offered a promotion, I might be able to, but I can’t see myself staying in moderation. I tell myself it pays the bills. If they offer me a permanent contract tomorrow, I’ll sign, because I need the work and I have a kid to feed, but the reason I’m doing a course on the side is to look for another job as soon as I’m qualified (a post-secondary education diploma in IT). MH

The difficulty of seeing a future in a career as moderator is both due to the low salaries but also to other significant constraints such as the working hours. In theory, a typical work week for a moderator is four six-hour days without a lunch break and one eleven-hour day (legal weekly working hours in France are 35). However, sometimes these hours can change, for example with obligatory breaks depending on the job and the team’s availability. Employees are entitled to two consecutive rest days, but never Saturday and Sunday. Lastly, the moderation teams are operational seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. All of these factors obviously make it difficult for employees to organize their home and social lives. The problems are exacerbated when there are major news events that significantly increase the workload, such as during the Paris attacks.

Day-to-Day Life as a Moderator Moderating is highly controlled by productivity imperatives. Operators must moderate 400 comments an hour, which leaves 9  seconds to take and confirm the decision to publish a comment or not. In reality, this average is calculated over a longer period, allowing moderators room for manoeuvre. In addition to quantity, in terms of quality there is a limit in

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the number of evaluation errors a moderator should make (e.g., allowing a comment to be published that shouldn’t be). All of these parameters are monitored by the supervisor, who has access to the statistics of each moderator and can discreetly observe the work of each person in real time via a dedicated platform. They can then make individual recommendations depending on their observations. There are two types of moderator: those who are fast but make more errors, and those who are slow but who don’t make any errors, and you need both. Generally, people make careless mistakes, messages that slip through when they shouldn’t. Then there are recurring errors. Being too strict, for example, blocking messages repeatedly without thinking. You actually need to avoid overinterpreting the message, it needs to be a spontaneous decision while also thinking quickly. As I always say, in 99% of cases the first decision is the right one. SV Not that long ago, we were discussing news stories in the office, the buffer was a little full, and SV stood up and said “Hey guys, you’re all below 150 messages per hour, we’re falling behind.” The supervisors can see everything; they’re nice but they know how to call us to order. They can see everything that’s going on, how many messages come in, how many are processed; they can tell you in real time how many messages you process in a minute or if you made mistakes. They often send us messages on a specific issue, to tell us if we were too lenient or too harsh. I’m too strict because I know that if everyone is too lax the discussions can quickly get out of hand. MH

In our corpus of comments moderated by Atchik on the issue of the November attacks, such “mistakes” can indeed be seen. Several comments, posted by some users repeatedly with an insistence that might seem like spamming, were blocked a number of times before being accepted a few minutes later. The following is an example:89 The law has to be enforced (headscarf -wearing non-European dress-) close the mosques temporarily—ban any rallies), demand that the “death penalty” be brought back for anyone connected to terrorism whether they did something or not! because today we’re in a 3rd war for our country, and it’s on

8  These comments left online often have major or minor spelling and grammar mistakes. We have decided to print them in their original version, without any corrections. 9  Translated from the French.

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our home territory, so everyone keep your eyes open and be prepared!!!! Benhur1

Posted 22 times on 14 November between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., below three distinct articles about the attacks, it was blocked 19 times and accepted three times (at 7.56  a.m., 11  a.m. and 7.51  p.m.). While not extremely frequent, these examples can be seen interspersed throughout the corpus of comments. The following comment is another example, posted five times on 15 November between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., once again below three different articles, and accepted once at 3.30 p.m.: Here we go again like in January… “We’re all French citizens, let’s not conflate the two…etc. Blah, blah, blah…” STOP, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE STOP…letting hundreds of thousands of people into our beautiful country every year, who don’t share our culture or way of life…!!! STOP…! I’m begging you!!! It’s the politicians who are the murderers…!!!!!!!!!! Mirlif

This result almost seems to prove the frenetic commenters’ strategy right. They relentlessly repost the same message at regular intervals, beneath different articles, counting on the moderator’s concentration lapse or at least a possible crack in the system. In addition, the work is carried out in an open plan office. The employees and the supervisors work in close proximity to one another, which means it is impossible to be alone, have private conversations or show too much laxity. The main characteristic of moderation is the repetitiveness and even tediousness of the work. The task consists of receiving a comments feed together with metadata (source, relevant article, time of post, feed level) and making a binary decision (publish or not) for the entire day. The density of information and the rhythm of the activity require faultless concentration to avoid the mistakes that may create extra work. The moderators work under pressure and must manage several parameters and indicators such as the origin of the comments, the editorial guidelines, the feed volume, etc., while deciding whether to publish a comment or not and anticipating the consequences of each decision. It’s very tedious, we’re actively concentrating for practically 100% of our working day. We can’t afford to let our guard down; we can’t slow down because there’s a large volume of incoming messages. Of course, there are

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moments when it’s calmer and we can relax and moderate less quickly. But you have to be careful all the time, you can’t dawdle for 10 seconds, or validate a page without looking at what’s in it because we might make a huge mistake. It’s not an office job where you can finish an email and look around for five minutes; we have to be moderating. We have to moderate 400 messages an hour (…) We can’t afford a single error because it’s instantly visible and there are consequences, too. For example, a message that’s a bit violent on an article about Israel and Palestine, for example, will get 200 replies. There’s instant escalation, more messages, more violence… MH

Encountering hate speech, harassing comments and sometimes insults from unhappy commenters creates mental and psychological fatigue which becomes difficult to bear after a while and creates an unattractive image of the job. The analysis of our corpus of comments reveals that around 15% of the messages are directly challenging a censorship, and some of the messages are addressed to the journalists (for less well-informed commenters). Others explicitly accuse the moderators, in terms that can be violent, such as in the following messages, which are quite emblematic of the words that are sometimes used against them: I’ve a Muslim moderator censoring me, a∗∗hole jihadist, pity I can’t stuff you with a pig, that’s what we should do, halouf10! (Matbig, 14 November, 9.27 p.m., comment removed) shitty moderator, my comment had nothing offensive in it, a missile up your a∗s would be good for you. (Cocolumerin, 16 November, 10.24 a.m., comment removed) AH, I forgot it was Sunday and the lefty moderators are here to stop us from speaking so ‘bye, see you at the polls, we’ll have a great laugh. (Jacky, 15 November, 9.53 p.m., comment accepted) Shit, even the moderators are jihadists on this forum. (Toubou, 15 November, 4.28 p.m., comment removed) Thanks to the moderator. Keep it up. One day you’ll have to look in the mirror. (Boulanger, 15 November, 11.52 p.m., comment approved)

To deal with this, the moderators use group and individual tactics that help them to detach themselves and get some perspective on the

 Translator’s note: Arabic term for pig, used here pejoratively to refer to Muslims.

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commenters’ rhetoric11, and work together to be better equipped to deal with a sudden increase in their workload and anticipate the difficulties to come. However, the nature of the work combined with the pay and demands in terms of availability causes a high turnover in teams, comparable to that seen in customer service centres. I’m a net maintenance technician, a cleaner. I clean up so that other people don’t see the shit. Every day we’re confronted with the miserable nature of humanity, we’re under pressure to meet targets. Another thing that’s mentally challenging is switching between media outlets while remembering their various editorial guidelines, it’s a little exercise under the constant pressure of the feed. The hardest is Saturday, when I work eleven hours straight. I have to prepare myself psychologically before coming (…) We have to just laugh about it on Skype, we’re always connected to the moderation group; we use it as an internal messaging system for recreational purposes, to wind down and laugh it off. We’re aware that we can easily be replaced, and there’s a high turnover. There are plenty of people who go on unemployment benefit because they can’t stand the work anymore. I saw six people leave in a year because they were fed up. My sister worked in call centres and she says it’s the same thing. MF So, we help each other out and talk to each other. We’ve no choice, if we stay in our own corner just clicking, after a while we’re overworked. The stress factor is shared among the team, if you run out of time it’s either because there’s a huge feed or you shut yourself off and didn’t communicate enough. If you communicate, there’s always someone in the office who’ll come and help (…) At the beginning when you moderate it’s stressful. You watch the time dwindling; but after a while you calculate how many messages are lined up and which is the oldest message. Then you realise there are 45 messages a minute and you know you can’t process that, it’s impossible, so you ask for help. When you think about it, we often take out the calculator and realise there are too many messages. It’s up to us to be able to say we’re snowed under, we need help. We tell the supervisor and they 11  Some of whom, while evidently fewer in number, also take their side, such as in the following comment: “I’m taking this opportunity to respond to comments on moderation to say I think that moderators’ work sounds very hard. They have to weigh up freedom of expression and defamation and insults using criteria that are naturally subjective in these asymmetric dialogues. For all those who complain about censorship, remember they’re protecting you because by deleting your comment they’re helping you avoid legal proceedings. For those who criticise moderation and feel restricted in expressing their opinion, they should start a blog where they have more freedom. Best regards friends, and good luck!” (Jean Mouclade, 16 November, 9.34 a.m., comment approved).

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take it from there. It’s up to us to realize when we’re overwhelmed or when we’re not working fast enough and we’re falling behind. That happens too, there are moments where we let up and chat among ourselves, for example. MH

The Mechanics of Moderation The way the moderator’s work is organized is based on how the technical tool works. The tool used is proprietary software developed by Atchik internally, which allows the operator to connect to client databases and extract all the comments submitted to their sites via an XML feed. Based on preselected parameters, each individual comment will be processed differently. The first filter the tool performs is to separate comments that are moderated ex-post and ex-ante. In the first case, the comments are published on the news sites pending the moderator’s check. In the second case, they are stored awaiting publication once approved by a moderator. The choice between these procedures is made according to the risk presented by the articles being commented. This is calculated based on two criteria: the subject of the section and the presence of potentially “provocative” terms in the title. So, the comments that are made below articles in the high-tech or culture section, for example, are directed toward ex-­ post moderation, unless the tool detects words in the title that are likely to generate problematic comments. Inversely, the high-risk sections such as political affairs or human-interest stories are systematically moderated ex-­ ante. In order to detect the content that might create a media frenzy, a database in the form of a dictionary is used and updated regularly to keep up with current events. The aim of this “smart moderation” architecture is to optimize the processing time by reducing the moderators’ workload. While editors may choose ex-ante moderation for all comments, most of them opt for this solution, which is more flexible. This choice is also more common because editors became gradually accustomed to this method via Facebook. A comment on the latest iPhone will be moderated ex-post, so it will be published before being seen by a moderator because it doesn’t involve any real risk. It’s a security net, because whatever happens there’s always a filter that analyses the article titles to make sure there’s nothing that could spark tension. We use this system with several clients; we keep up to date with the news, so when Taubira stepped down as the Minister for Justice, for exam-

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ple, and Urvoas replaced her, his name entered the dictionary. ‘Uber’ or ‘taxi’ generally aren’t terms that create concern, except when there’s a strike. So, we put them in the dictionary as a precaution. All our clients benefit from this dictionary, it’s the same basic setup but you can change the configuration (…) For ex-post moderation I had to really work on them to get them to agree. At the beginning the editors were extremely hesitant. But Facebook came along and changed their view of comments. We’re now used to seeing comments published instantly, with awful things that we delete afterwards. We can’t keep moderating like we did five years ago. COO

Relationships with Editors and Journalists The main factor that governs the relationship between moderation service providers and their news media client is the set of legal obligations with which they must comply. These are summarised in a legal document that is a part of the contract binding the two parties and which mentions every situation covered by the law that is likely to cause an issue in the comments (hate speech, insults, defamation, harassment and also imminent danger and failure to assist a person in danger). Looking at the corpus from 13 November, an analysis of the lexical features of the messages deleted compared to the messages approved reveals an extremely polarised dichotomy in the tone of speech: extremely compassionate comments marked by emoticons and terms such as ‘condolences’, ‘family’, ‘courage’, ‘victim’, ‘rip’ and ‘thoughts’ for the approved messages, and extremely virulent finger-pointing of Muslims, URLs and challenging of censorship for deleted messages (see above), marked (in addition to the URL signs) by the terms ‘Muslim’, ‘Islam’, ‘mosque’, ‘Arab’, ‘idiot’, ‘riffraff’, ‘barbu’12 and even ‘hack’ and ‘censor’. The following passages are typical examples of both types of messages found in the comments section: “My thoughts and respect to the victims, thank you France and the world for your support” CathyLuque, message approved “Condolences to the families and friends, deeply saddened” LavandeVincent, message approved

 Pejorative term meaning “bearded”.

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“Beat them all senseless, that’s all! 1 by 1! http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=mYMiEU0vKIM13” (13_11_2015, comment deleted) “The muslims are celebrating the attacks, it’s revolting they should be locked up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icXJH6WYkOE”14 (Lefferubis, comment deleted)

This legal document is accompanied by an editorial charter based on the editor’s preferences (whether to accept URLs, capital letters, spelling mistakes, irrelevant comments, language directed at the journalist, discussion between commenters, etc. in the comments). These elements are used to make an official editorial guideline adapted by each editor for their readers’ comments and which moderators use as a rulebook. The level of permissiveness concerning the different registers and type of expression that is allowed varies between editors, depending on what they’re aiming for. For example, one editor might choose to allow commenters to address each other, if they are mostly regular readers, in order to enhance the sense of community and retain readers. Another might allow a certain degree of vulgarity in the comments if they believe that this contributes to authentic discussion and the satisfaction it gives their authors. It’s mental gymnastics in terms of the difference between clients. Take La Dépêche and Orange. At La Dépêche, criticism is allowed, a certain degree of vulgarity is tolerated, which is not the case for Orange, which is stricter. For example, for Orange you can’t address the moderator, you can’t mention censorship. RTL is for jibes and chat, on Orange they try to analyse and give more argumentative opinions, on Le Parisien they tend to be a little more provocative. SV

The differences between editors is tangible in the proportion of messages approved, which varied in our corpus of comments on 13 November from 61% for national radio to 85% for comments on one of the regional dailies that outsource to Atchik. In terms of the reasons why moderators

13  The hyperlink leads to a video of the US Army operations with the Apache helicopter and “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC playing in the background. 14  The hyperlink leads to a breaking news segment on TV channel i-Télé, now Cnews, where a young man located in the background behind the presenter makes a shooting gesture and appears to celebrate.

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did not approve the comments visible in our corpus, differences come to light between the various editors, with national media outlets specifically indicating “violence” (101 comments deleted), “pornography” (9 comments deleted) and “revisionist nature” (18 comments deleted), which is not the case in the two regional dailies that make up the rest of our corpus. This does not mean that the regional dailies allow such messages through, but that the terms used to explain reasons for deleting a comment are not stable and depend on the editorial policy. One of the two regional dailies does however place two reasons, “defamation” and “insult” in a single category, whereas the other declares “incitement to violence”, which is closer to “incitation to racial hatred” previously mentioned. The legal document and editorial charter, together with other elements concerning the provision of the service, are what forms the contractual moderation charter. These elements mainly deal with the hours covered and the moderation latency. Depending on the volume of comments, these three parameters determine the service rates. Each media outlet has one or several contact persons who handle client relations with Atchik. Their work consists of setting out the editorial guidelines, transferring the journalists’ questions and remarks to the contractor and also explaining to their editors how the moderators make their choices using the editorial guidelines. Interestingly, not all journalists are necessarily aware of this and it can lead to misunderstandings. A contact’s role also involves responding to the contractor’s requests when they require urgent action, for example in the event of imminent danger or assisting a person in danger. A comment that announces an imminent crime or suicide renders the editor liable and once they are informed by the contractors, they must alert the authorities and provide all useful information that might prevent a tragedy from arising. For the editorial guidelines we show the team a variety of typical situations and ask the question, ‘Is this acceptable?’ In order for the moderator to have clear rules, the editorial team must first agree on them, which isn’t always easy. The aim is to define a precise rule, so we always get feedback from the editor to clearly state what we are to do. Comments are live matter and they evolve. When politicians use foul language or offensive phrases, what do we do with the comments that quote them? What if someone says ‘I’m coming to a certain place with an AK-47 to shoot all the damn bougnoules’? If the message is automatically deleted based on the keyword, you won’t see it,

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you can’t alert the authorities, and if that happens you as the editor are responsible. COO

In certain cases, for example in the local and regional press, journalists and moderators interact more frequently. Moderators play an important role in the information production process by highlighting several times a day, the comments that may be of journalistic interest, such as a correction, personal account or response from someone involved in an incident. Journalists, meanwhile, alert the contractor when publishing high-risk articles. These aspects of Atchik’s business are a competitive advantage in terms of quality in relation to some of its competitors; the moderators work in an assistant role to journalists. At Le Parisien, for example, they react quickly and ask straight away, ‘What happened?’” Sometimes it’s the journalists themselves, especially in the local and regional dailies. For example, at La Nouvelle République du Centre, the journalists contact us directly for information that was sent by somebody commenting on a human-interest story and who provided another element, like a personal account. The moderators report this to me and as a supervisor I will inform them, saying that the item may interest them. They in turn contact us for information, it works both ways. It means they don’t have to monitor all the comments on FB and on their website, but they still have feedback. It’s value added for journalism, we’re here to inform them in real time of what’s going on their pages. SV

Relationship with Commenters and Hate Speech Moderators have quite an accurate image of the commenters. The most regular commenters are known by their pseudonym. As an example, while our corpus contains 29,017 comments for 5807 commenters (just under five comments per person, on average), the most productive commenters have easily more than 100 comments each to their names. Some, such as “hybea” and “denbas” have reached 381 and 302 comments, respectively. This familiarity allows moderators to anticipate the conflict that may potentially break out, or decide more quickly whether a comment is valid or not, although the comments made by these contributors are not necessarily removed (167 messages approved for “denbas”, 257 for “hybea”). But beyond this personal identification, moderators carry out armchair sociological and political analysis of the commenter audience based on their daily observations.

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For example, on Orange there are a lot of right-wing users. Anyone who attempts more moderate discussion, or who is a little more left-wing, leaves very quickly. Because they’re instantly faced with an army that repeats the same things, with a tendency to echo Front National15-inspired sentiment. The FN’s entryism on Orange’s forums is huge! Orange customers are older, and end up on Orange forums kind of by default. So statistically, they’re more right-wing. There are a lot of reactionary comments—in fact, we call that team the ‘Réac’ Team’, for reactions to news. (…) There are people who just do that all day, copying and pasting the same message until it goes through. They’re people who have nothing else to do. We’re extrapolating, but there is a category made up of recently retired people who think everything was better before, who preferred General de Gaulle and who think Marine (Le Pen) isn’t entirely wrong. MH The regulars are the ones who are sitting at home, who spend most of their day in front of their computer, commenting. We know them. They have their favourite topics. For example, you’ll have one who’s pro-Israel who’ll respond to every article about Israel. That’s somewhere between 20 and 25% of people. They’re aged between 50 and 70 and are Orange customers. So, when they turn on their computer, the Orange portal opens and since they don’t know a lot about computers they stay there. Politically speaking, three quarters of them are firmly right-wing. I think they act even more right-wing because they’re on the Internet. Then there’s also a narcissistic aspect of posting a comment on a site. They like seeing their comment appear, so when we remove it that really frustrates them. SV

One major difficulty in a moderator’s work is being confronted on a daily basis with racist, sexist and homophobic rhetoric. Certain topics are especially likely to generate hateful, violent comments: immigration, terrorism and certain political personalities like Christiane Taubira  (who is black). Generally, any issue that touches on Islam such as the headscarf or halal food sparks a massive amount of hostile reactions. Constantly having to deal with this type of content can generate frustration among moderators. But experience and habit tend to attenuate this effect. Being from a Muslim background, at the beginning I found the work extremely tough, I felt like I was living in a world that wasn’t my own, where everyone is racist. I thought I must have been living in a bubble. But then you just have to remind yourself that it’s not representative of the population, that’s what I tell myself to get by. For a month I was in shock, I wasn’t  France’s far-right political party, which is now called ‘Rassemblement National’.

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prepared for it, so I talked about it with my family. The first two weeks were especially awful. Now, it doesn’t get to me as much anymore. MF When I came back to moderating, I chose it because I needed to work. I resigned myself to it, while at the same time I was a little nervous about moderating because I know the effect it had on me in the past—I struggled to get some perspective. But that was five years ago, so I grew up etc. At the time, after two years, between 2008 and 2010, I couldn’t detach myself. You become very hard on them, because you’re fed up of reading their crap all day; you’re tired of reading shit, and you just end up looking forward to the moment someone says it to you on a night out to give them a punch in the face. It brings the violence out in you, because their reactions are violent it creates violence. Today I don’t have that sentiment at all, I’m able to step back, maybe because I had that experience. In the end it’s only a small number of people. MH

Three patterns appear to have developed in recent times, in the comments sections: trolls, conspiracy theories and coded identity speech. The first are commenters who follow sections such as human-interest stories and send comments with the sole purpose of creating shock. Sometimes these comments can be extremely violent. Coded identity speech aims to spread racist messages where the meaning is not instantly visible. The rhetoric has changed. There are still insults, but with increasingly well-­ written vocabulary and syntax. Kind of a politically correct hatred. This is more a case of verbal attack than insult. Instead of writing ‘Arabs out!’, they’ll write ‘This is our home.’ I can see subtle signs. Since I started doing this work, I see profiles that have gone over to the dark side and it’s impossible to bring them back. It’s not just the far right, there are the conspiracy theorists too, who are fed up with everything. For me, the first wave was Charlie Hebdo, the second wave was the migrant crisis, and the third wave is the November attacks. 2015 was a tough year. COO

The Shock of the Attacks Moderators were extremely affected by the terrorist attacks that struck Paris in 2015. On the one hand, the volume of comments skyrocketed, raising serious organisational issues. On the other hand, there was an outpouring of hate messages against Muslims who were assimilated with the terrorists. In addition to the messages that focused on censorship and targeted the moderators’ work—for which we gave an overview

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above—our analysis of comments reveals, among the deleted messages, hate speech of varying form against different types of Muslims. The first, which takes up around 13% of messages, is structured by the accusations against mosques, imams and Salafists, associated with the suburbs, delinquents and even immigration. This rhetoric alludes mainly to the need to close the borders and expel those filed as risks to national security (“fiché S”). The following comments are typical examples: close all the salafist mosques, expel all those idiot imams who preach hatred against France, shut the borders, destroy all the arms caches in the suburbs. (Dionisos) a respectable and extremely brave government must take the following measures: close borders indefinitely, end dual nationality, death penalty for terrorists. Send the army into the trouble areas of France’s big cities. Close the mosques. And most importantly, slow down immigration. (Marengo1800)

Alongside this political rhetoric that seeks stricter control, there is another type of speech, representing just under 4% of messages, that directly targets refugees and migrants entering Europe as an evident reason for the attacks. It would’ve been smarter to never let them into Europe. The Arab countries can take them. It’s just good sense. Unfortunately. We can expect the worst now with terrorists infiltrated in the migrants arriving. (Melancolie0509) France is now infiltrated by ‘Syrian migrants’, suicide bombers are welcomed with open arms… (gore00)

A third type of speech, without question the most virulent form of racism, accounts for 9% of messages and targets with extreme violence and often vulgarity, Muslims, Arabs and even a certain race, as well as all their associated characteristics: “voilé” (woman wearing a headscarf or veil), “barbu” (bearded man), “halal”, “eat”, “pork”, “djellaba”, “cut (their) throats”, “sheep”, “Allah”, “Ramadan”, etc.) by placing them up against the supposed patriotic or distinctive symbols of France (blue, white, red, flag, Catholic, Christmas), as evidenced in the following passages: “Where are all the ‘good’ Muslims during the minute’s silence? Where are they for blood donations? Where are they for the Marseillaise? Where are they when the blue white and red flag needs to be flown?” (Aspiole)

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“What’s wrong with this picture: there are still loads of Muslims that wear the djellaba, veiled women, which is against the law that banned them in 2003, and lots of them don’t speak our language, force their traditions on us and refuse ours. So, who’s lumping them in the one basket? You are! So, live the way FRENCH PEOPLE do, you’re in our country” (Benhur) “Since the dawn of time this race has never liked us, there’s no point in trying to live together, they should go back to their Muslim countries (there are 57 of them I believe) and be banned from coming to Europe, or else given the death penalty!!!” (Doudoues69) “Filthy Arabs! motherfuckers! (…) “A good muslim is a dead Muslim.” (MonsieurGeorge)

The moderators interviewed at Atchik confirmed that the Charlie Hebdo event saw a massive rise in the volume and an increasingly xenophobic tone in the messages submitted to the comments sections of articles. For me, there was a before and after Charlie Hebdo. In terms of volume, not necessarily in terms of content which mostly continues to be the same. Looking at our stats, you can see that after Charlie Hebdo, people who didn’t comment online before started commenting. Some left but many stayed. There was a clear trend. SV This type of event attracts a massive quantity of messages, and so the content is less of an issue; we’re performing moderation that has to be fast and we moderate mostly based on keywords. You skim through them. The client is also aware that it’s an exceptional circumstance. Instead of two on the team, there are ten of us. In terms of the comments on events, since there is first of all the sense of alarm and shock, followed by the facts, there is hatred for the terrorists, and not only the terrorists, because the terrorists are Muslims. There are guys who can spend the whole day saying not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. There was an outpouring of anti-Islam hatred, it lasted three months. Even today, when there are articles on the topic, there are nearly always similar messages—whether its mosques in France, the state of emergency, or Salafists, everything gets mixed up and next they’re saying we have to kick all the Muslims out of France. MH

The attack on Charlie Hebdo was the most difficult one to manage at Atchik. For one, the team had no experience with such events. Secondly, since the attack took place in the morning and was followed by other events (hostage-taking, tracking down the terrorists, etc.), there was no

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time to get organised to deal with the flood of messages. The company had to urgently call up former employees or new moderators with no experience to deal with the situation. In addition, the moderators on the job worked endless hours (up to 45 in a week) which led to physical and psychological exhaustion. When the November attacks happened, both moderators and the supervising teams were better prepared in terms of organization but also in terms of handling stress and pressure. A list of former moderators available in emergencies to help the teams, which was drawn up in January, was used. Moderators also knew how to pace themselves to last. In November we knew how to say no. We could say ‘I can’t do it anymore; I’m taking a day off.’ Because you work so much you can’t see clearly anymore. We learned amongst ourselves from the Charlie Hebdo experience that we had to pace ourselves. We learned how to manage without giving extra hours to the same moderator, and spare the moderator so they wouldn’t reach breaking point. We had to tell them ‘you can go home, rest, we’ll need you tomorrow.’ Because there comes a point when you need to know to get out. It’s the supervisor’s role to say ‘stop’. SV

Conclusion Our analysis highlights how there are at least four rationales at work in comment moderation: the legal framework concerning freedom of expression and the editors’ liability; the editorial and marketing strategies of those editors; the economic strategies of the moderation service providers and how they are reflected in the technology used and in management; and the sociopolitical context in which the comments are produced. We show that the nature of the comments that pass through the moderation filter and become visible in the public space will depend on the specific configurations that connect these four rationales.

References Asdourian, B., Van Hove, F., & Bourgeois, D. (2015). Participation journalistique sur Twitter. Injonctions à la participation et formes d’intervention numériques: le cas de la Radio Télévision Suisse. Studies in Communication Sciences, 15(2), 190–196. Bousquet, F., Marty, E., & Smyrnaios, N. (2015). Les nouveaux acteurs en ligne de l’information locale: vers une relation aux publics renouvelée ? Sur le jour-

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nalisme, 4(2). https://www.surlejournalisme.com/rev/index.php/slj/article/view/216. Buscatto, M. (2002). Les centres d’appels, usines modernes ? Les rationalisations paradoxales de la relation téléphonique. Sociologie du travail, 44(1), 99–117. Cabrolié, S. (2010). Les journalistes du parisien.fr et le dispositif technique de production de l’information. Réseaux, 160–161(2010/2), 79–100. Cardon, D. (1995). “Chère Ménie…” Émotions et engagements de l’auditeur de Ménie Grégoire. Réseaux, 13(70), 41–78. Coe, K., Kenski, K., & Rains, S.  A. (2014). Online and Uncivil? Patterns and Determinants of Incivility in Newspaper Website Comments. Journal of Communication, 64(4), 658–679. Degand, A. (2011). Le multimédia face à l’immédiat. Une interprétation de la reconfiguration des pratiques journalistiques selon trois niveaux. Communication, 29(1). https://doi.org/10.4000/communication.2342. Domingo, D., Quandt, T., Heinonen, A., Paulussen, S., Singer, J. B., & Vujnovic, M. (2008). Participatory Journalism Practices in the Media and Beyond: An International Comparative Study of Initiatives in Online Newspaper. Journalism Practice, 2(3), 326–342. Engaging News Project. (2014). Journalist Envolvment in Comments Sections. The University of Texas at Austin. https://mediaengagement.org/research/ journalist-involvement/. Ervajec, K., & Poler Kovacic, M. (2012). ‘You Don’t Understand, This is a New War!’ Analysis of Hate Speech in News Web Sites’ Comments. Mass Communication and Society, 15(6), 899–920. Goodman E., & Cherubini F. (2013). Online Comment Moderation: Emerging Best Practices. A Guide to Promoting Robust and Civil Online Conversation. http://www.wan-ifra.org/reports/2013/10/04/ online-comment-moderation-emerging-best-practices. Hermida, A., & Thurman, N. (2008). A Clash of Cultures. The Integration of User-generated Content Within Professional Journalistic Frameworks at British Newspaper Websites. Journalism Practice, 2(3), 343–356. Hughey, M. W., & Daniels, J. (2013). Racist Comments at Online News Sites: A Methodological Dilemma for Discourse Analysis. Media, Culture & Society, 3(35), 332–347. Jouët, J., & Le Carroff, C. (2013). L’actualité politique et la participation en ligne. In J. Jouët & R. Rieffel (Eds.), S’informer à l’ère numérique (pp. 117–157). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes. Karatzogianni, A. (2015). Firebrand Waves of Digital Activism 1994–2014: The Rise and Spread of Hacktivism and Cyberconflict. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Lafon, P. (1984). Dépouillements et statistiques en lexicométrie. Genève/Paris: Slatkine/Champion.

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Lewis, S.  C., Kaufhold, K., & Lasorsa, D.  L. (2009). Thinking About Citizen Journalism. The Philosophical and Practical Challenges of User-generated Content for Community Newspapers. Journalism Practice, 4(2), 163–179. Marty, E., Pignard-Cheynel, N., & Sebbah, B. (2016). Internet Users’ Participation and News Framing: The Strauss-Kahn Case–related Live Blog at Le Monde.fr. New Media & Society, 19(12). https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816650641. Morrison, S. (2017). The Future of Comments. Nieman Lab Report. https:// niemanreports.org/articles/the-future-of-comments/. Nielsen, C.  E. (2014). Coproduction or Cohabitation: Are Anonymous Online Comments on Newspaper Websites Shaping News Content? New Media & Society, 16(3), 470–487. Pöyhtäry, R. (2014). Limits of Hate Speech and Freedom of Speech on Moderated News Websites in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. Annals for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies, 24(3), 513–524. Ratinaud, P. (2014). IRaMuTeQ: Interface de R pour les Analyses Multidimensionnelles de Textes et de Questionnaires (Version 0.7 alpha 2). http://www.iramuteq.org. Reader, B. (2012). Free Press vs. Free Speech? The Rhetoric of ‘Civility’ in Regard to Anonymous Online Comments. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89(3), 495–513. Rebillard, F. (2007). Le web 2.0 en perspective: une analyse socio-économique de l’Internet. Paris: L’Harmattan. Reinert, M. (1983). Une méthode de classification descendante hiérarchique: application à l’analyse lexicale par contexte. Les Cahiers de l’analyse des données, 8(2), 187–198. Roberts, S.  T. (2014). Behind the Screen: The Hidden Digital Labor of Online Content Moderators. PhD Dissertation in Library & Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Roberts, S. T. (2016). Commercial Content Moderation: Digital Laborers’ Dirty Work, Media Studies Publications, Paper 12. Smyrnaios, N. (2013). Les pure players entre diversité journalistique et contrainte économique: les cas d’Owni, Rue89 et Arrêt sur images. Recherches en communication, 39, 133–150. Trygg, S. (2012). Is Comment Free? Ethical, Editorial and Political Problems of Moderating Online News. Nordicom-Information, 34(1), 3–21.

CHAPTER 7

The Local Press as a Medium to Create Diversion Loïc Ballarini

The French newspapers of record that are reputed around the world for their supposed authority on France and French matters are national papers published in Paris: Le Monde (centre left) and Le Figaro (conservative right), as well as Libération (centre left), which has seen a significant decline in its readership numbers, and Mediapart (left, investigative journalism), which is the only pure play company considered to be a newspaper of record. However, since the 1930s, the press with the largest circulation in France—and which is virtually unknown abroad—are regional newspapers. Around 50 dailies and 150 weekly newspapers are published around France. The daily newspapers are published in the largest cities outside of Paris, and cover an area ranging from one administrative département to several larger regions. They are based on the local publication model that emerged in the late nineteenth century, where regional editions include local news that is specific to each sub-section of the geographical area covered. The weekly papers are published in smaller

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_7

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cities (with up to several tens of thousands of inhabitants, but often considerably fewer). Over time, powerful press groups formed— even though they are still feeling the effects of the crisis—and squeezed out all competition in their distribution areas to create local monopolies in printed news. Loïc Ballarini explores the content in these newspapers in this chapter. He analysed more than 1500 articles relating to four cities in Brittany, one of the rare French regions where one weekly and two daily newspapers compete for readers. He examines how the French regional press can claim (or not) to reflect the geographical area it covers. Despite the apparent diversity of news, the author noted a strict hierarchy of local information, which is voluntarily complacent about those in power and almost never critical. As if it were stuck in the consensus-based model that made it successful a century ago, the local press is unable to put its finger on long-term shifts and changes in the region. Loïc Ballarini describes it as a diversion of attention away from social dynamics towards extremely simplified social constructs. First publication Ballarini L., 2008. « Presse locale, un média de diversion », Réseaux, 2008/2 (n° 148–149), p. 405–426. DOI: 10.3917/res.148.0405. URL: https://www.cairn.info/revue-reseaux1-2008-2-page-405.htm Translated by: Teri Jones-Villeneuve (Coup de Puce Expansion)

NB: This research was undertaken in 2005 and the results published in 2008. They are presented here without modification, but whenever possible, more recent figures are also provided so that the reader can see the evolution of the regional media landscape in France. The overall circulation of print newspapers has continued to decline over the past decade and advertising revenues have declined even more. Social networking sites have certainly modified many habits, but the major balances between regional media have not been L. Ballarini (*) Crem (Centre de recherche sur les médiations), University of Lorraine, Metz, France e-mail: [email protected]

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changed—the regional dailies still dominate the local information ecosystem. On the sample studied, no hyperlocal online media was launched although these media can have an effect on the news production (Langonné et  al. 2017). A network of local sites has been created (actu.fr), but it belongs to Publihebdos and is dedicated to the content of the group’s weeklies. Other changes are mentioned in the text. Since there has not been any significant change in the editorial lines of the regional media studied, the conclusions of this chapter are still valid today. The paradox of the French press has been noted many times: in a country with a tradition of centralisation, regional newspapers largely dominate the national papers. At a time when the public’s current loss of trust in the media is compounded by the economic difficulties of the press to adapt to digitisation and new content distribution formats, the regional press is often seen as a persisting form of an older model. The proximity—both physical and symbolic—that the regional press maintains with its readers by reflecting their most easily understandable world (that of daily routines) protects it from the difficulties the national press must contend with, such as effects of globalisation and the growing disconnect with political and economic decision-makers. But this alone is not a sufficient explanation: the French regional press is not exempt from the crisis and faces a constantly shrinking readership. Along with other work on media reception and professional practices and portrayals, this chapter will look at regional press content itself through an analysis of the regional press in Brittany. This analysis reveals a rising discrepancy between the world described by the local press and that which its readers experience. Despite an apparent stance of diversity and neutrality, local information maintains hierarchies, is willingly complacent and remains marked by a world view that favours social stability. From a world of interrelated connections and dynamic processes, it retains only a juxtaposition of micro-events taken out of context. Our research confirms and reinforces many researchers’ previous assumptions and theories. The regional press, which occupies a dominant position in a region it claims to reflect and is a very particular mediator in a partially public space, diverts attention away from society’s depth and diversity to instead pull it towards extremely simplified social constructs. The current regional press model, based on local information aimed at the general public, was built from the second half of the nineteenth century on and became the standard from the 1930s, at which time the sales of local newspapers exceeded those of papers from Paris. The regional press, which came out of the Second World War stronger than it was before,

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continued to expand its lead over the national press, namely by adopting more efficient management methods and taking on advertising, to which future television viewers and magazine readers would become accustomed. However, at the end of the 1960s, increasingly fierce criticism was being levied at the regional press, which failed to respond adequately. Accused of conservatism and conformism, it reacted by reducing the space allocated to honours and commemorations and increasing that for local business and work life, associations and industry. However, this did not prevent a drop in readership that began in the late 1970s. The decline was slow but steady. Although circulation rates remain three times higher than those of national dailies, regional dailies were, at the time of the study, at the same levels as in the 1950s.1 The consolidation of ownership among a few economic players, which is the main change in the press industry in the past 30 years, has not managed to stop the decline, although it has reduced their numbers by two-­ thirds: in 1946, just after the end of the Second World War, there were 175 regional and departmental dailies; in 2005, there were only 58; and in 2017 it remained 52.2 Meanwhile, the regional weekly press continued to create new papers and increased readership through the end of the 1990s. However, this illusion of an exception in the regional press sector no longer holds true; the weeklies’ circulation has declined by 6.9% between 2000 and 2005, and by 27.8% between 2000 and 2016 (DGMIC 2016). The difficulties experienced by the French regional press have emerged during a crucial period of change for the country’s regions, characterised during the second half of the twentieth century by a profound increase in complexity. In the late 1950s, regional development plans and “programme regions” (régions de programme) were created, which prefigured the administrative regions (régions) established in 1982. In 1992, groups of municipalities (communautés de communes) were created, followed in 1999 by larger “administrative districts” (pays) encompassing them (the pays should not be confused with the concept of ‘country’, i.e., national territory), thereby creating an intermediary space between municipality and department meant to better reflect local populations’ living areas. 1  Average print run for regional dailies in 1952: 6.18 million per day. In 2005: 6.28 million. In 2017: 4.43. (Source: DGMIC 2016). The rate of unsold newspapers is low in the regional press, so the actual circulation of regional dailies was 5.58 million per day in 2005 (OJD 2006a, b) and 3.96 million per day in 2018 (ACPM 2019) (no circulation figure available for 1952). 2  For the 1946 and the 2005 figures, refer to DDM 2007, p. 108. For 2017, see DGMIC 2017, p. 6.

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Today, and not counting the joint local planning authorities with a single or multifaceted scope (water management, waste collection or forest maintenance), France’s “administrative layer cake” has nine layers from commune (municipality) to Europe, and seven of them are responsible for “local” divisions: municipality, canton, joint local authority coordination,3 arrondissement (administrative division of a department in which a state representative sits), “administrative district”, department and region. Along with these “objective” territories are ties to family, friends, work, associations, politics, religion and so on. In the society in which the press originated, people often belong to a family and a village, and sometimes a corporation. In the society in which the internet has developed, it is nearly impossible to draw up a list of the many territories to which people may belong or feel they belong. The feeling of belonging is crucial here, especially given that the ideas of “territory” and “local” are ambiguous. Depending on the point of view, they can be considered inert and slow or responsive and pioneering. Isabelle Pailliart places the local level at “the intersection of two dimensions: that which allows for innovation because it is in a micro space, and that which is a part of a whole and so is able to reveal tensions that affect the whole. This dual nature of the territory leads to an emphasis on the innovative dimension as much as on the conservative dimension” (Pailliart 1994, pp. 65–66). It is all the more challenging to understand given that its limits are constantly being pushed back and its structures continue to become more complex. The territory has what Isabelle Pailliart describes as a “fundamental originality: it only exists because it is in a situation of continual production of itself, and the media is closely linked to this incessant movement” (Pailliart 1994, p. 247). Ignoring this dual nature and the fundamental originality of the territory and focusing solely on one of the dimensions would put a stop to the dynamic processes that build and change it. And yet, this is exactly what seems to be happening with the regional press. During its first century of existence, it remained closely connected with the social and economic changes of the world of which it was a part and was attempting to explain. Historical research shows that the regional press has evolved with society, each being inspired by the other (namely Martin 2002; Charon 2003; Jeanneney 1998). However, in the past quarter of a century, the press has gone through the longest and most significant crisis in its history. It is as if society continued evolving while the press has failed to do so. Has the 3  Groups of municipalities  (communautés de communes), conurbations  (communautés d’agglomérations) and metropolitan areas  (communutés urbaines) (the name in France depends on the size of the group).

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concept of proximity on which the regional press based its information strategy in fact become a construct that is too far removed from the lives of its potential readers?

Seemingly Diversified Information Four Cities, Four Newspapers To attempt to answer this question, we need to understand the world the local press describes. This study is not about looking at what journalists and editors mean, nor about studying media reception but about analysing the actual content of the regional press. By regional press, we are referring to generalist daily and weekly newspapers published at a scale ranging from the municipality to the region. Institutional and specialised newspapers, such as those published by corporations or classified ads, are excluded. In all, this leaves about 20 newspapers for Brittany, a region chosen for this study because it has been one of the most dynamic in France in terms of local press since the early twentieth century, and its media landscape still shows considerable contrasts. The region has the largest French daily in terms of circulation as well as a number of small, independent weeklies. Within this region, we selected four cities. During a one-week period for the dailies and a onemonth period for the weeklies,4 we identified all articles about these cities and analysed their placement in the newspaper, their size, topic, type (information/service, portrait, investigation, etc.), author and tone, as well as photos and quotes that were included. Here we discuss the main results of this content analysis, for which the corpus contains 1651 articles. The four cities in the study were chosen based on their economic, social, demographic and media diversity.5 They are as follows: Rennes: 206,000 inhabitants in 1999, prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine and regional capital. It has a diverse economy (well-established industry, services, ITCs). It is the headquarters for the daily Ouest-France, which had a monopoly over print news at the time of the study. In 2009, Le Mensuel de Rennes has been launched. It is a monthly newsmagazine that belongs to the competing press group Le Telégramme. 4  The time of year was chosen to correspond to a diverse period of activity for the regional press (politics, associations, economy, etc.), without selecting a particular theme or event. 5  Using the results of a diagnosis made prior to the creation of the Regional development plan for the region of Brittany (SRADT: Bretagne 2015), Regional Council of Brittany (Conseil régional de Bretagne), October 2002.

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Brest: 150,000 inhabitants, sous-prefecture of Finistère, second largest city in the region just after Rennes. Although dominated by the military arsenal the city is often identified with, it has a very dynamic cultural life for which it has struggled to gain recognition. The city is the long-time bastion of the daily Le Télégramme, but is not immune to competition from Ouest-France. A weekly newspaper, Le Progrès de Cornouaille/ Courrier du Léon, is also distributed here. Saint-Brieuc: 50,000 inhabitants, prefecture of the Côtes-d’Armor. This is a mid-sized city with a strong industrial past that has had trouble diversifying and modernising its economy. It is an example of a city with a historic town centre whose businesses have found it difficult to contend with a flourishing suburban area. Ouest-France and Le Télégramme compete for readership here, while the weekly Le Penthièvre has grown since its creation in 2000. Quintin: 2900 inhabitants, cantonal capital to the south of Saint-­ Brieuc. This former manufacturing and trade centre for traditional Breton linen fabrics has remained a relatively autonomous city, which today benefits from urban spread into the country. It falls within the category of towns with 1000 to 5000 inhabitants in which 41% of Bretons live (the national average is 24%). Ouest-France, Le Télégramme and Le Penthièvre have a readership here. In these four cities, there are four dailies and regional weeklies: Ouest-France. Created in 1944, this newspaper is the descendant of Ouest-Éclair, founded in Rennes in 1899. With a stable circulation of around 781,000 daily copies (more than the national dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro combined), Ouest-France has been the leading French daily since 1976—this is still the case in 2019 even though circulation has dropped to 635,000 daily copies. It is the flagship of the SIPA Group, which also owns the companies Ouest-France Multimédia, Publihebdos (57 weeklies in 2005, now 77, including Le Penthièvre), Sofiouest (160 free papers with classified ads at the time of the study, today several classified ads websites), a publishing house, 50% of 20 Minutes SA (which publishes the free daily 20 Minutes in France). Since 1990, the SIPA Group has been a subsidiary of an association called Association pour le soutien des principes de la démocratie humaniste (Association for the support of humanist democracy  principles) and which holds a 99.91% stake. Its operations are kept under lock and key to prevent anyone taking control of the group. Le Télégramme. Like Ouest-France, Le Télégramme was founded in 1944 to replace La Dépêche de Brest, which dated back to 1886. It has also belonged to the same family almost since its inception. While its growth has been slowed by the strength of Ouest-France, it has still managed to

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gain a readership as far as the Côtes-d’Armor and Morbihan. It has also boosted its sales within its historic territory, such as by being the first French daily to print in colour in 1967. Finistère is also one of the French administrative departments where the regional press’s penetration rates are highest. Le Télégramme reached its highest circulation point in 1991 with 215,000 daily copies, but this figure fell to 194,000 in 2002. The newspaper then decided to change its layout. It is now in a stapled tabloid format and places local news in a more prominent position, particularly with a second “front page” for each edition inside the newspaper. It sold more than 206,000 copies per day in 2006, and had dropped to 185,000  in 2019. Le Télégramme also holds several weeklies, a publishing house, an advertising network and, at the time of the study, shares in the local television channel Nantes 7 (now two TV channels, Tébéo and Tébésud), and some festivals. Le Progrès de Cornouaille/Le Courrier du Léon. These are two weeklies with identical content, with the only difference being the name. Le Progrès de Cornouaille is published in southern Finistère and Le Courrier du Léon in the north. This has been the case since 1895, when two newspapers created by the Brest diocese (Le Courrier de Cornouaille and Le Courrier du Finistère) merged. Having been banned during the Second World War, they simply changed names to reappear and management was transferred to the secular Société des éditions nouvelles du Finistère publishing house, which was independent at the time of the study—it has since been acquired by the Publihebdos media group. The content of Le Progrès de Cornouaille/ Le Courrier du Léon is rather original because it is not divided geographically like other local newspapers but instead by theme (fishing, stories about local history, health, etc.). These themes do not necessarily recur every week but depend on current affairs. In 2006, the newspaper sells around 7000 copies per week versus a print run of 30,000 in 1926. Le Penthièvre. “L’hebdo du Pays de Saint-Brieuc [The weekly of the Saint-­ Brieuc area]” replaced the fortnightly newspaper L’Avis local in June 2000, which had just been bought out by the Publihebdos group, a subsidiary of Ouest-France. It is the group’s sixth weekly for the Côtes-­ d’Armor, which allows it to cover the entire area of this French administrative département with 540,000 inhabitants. In 2006, Le Penthièvre sold an average of 5000 copies per week (18% more than in 2002). It has increased to 5500 copies in 2019.

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Article Types Unsurprisingly, reports make up more than half the corpus (see Fig. 7.1), with 789 items or 47.8% of the total. Half of these reports are feature articles, a solid quarter are short news articles, and the rest is general news, spotlights, captioned photos, crime reports from the courts and obituaries. Practical information is the second most common type of article (352, 21.3%). If you add show and event announcements (211, 12.8%) about a third of articles provide practical information on upcoming “things to do”. No other article type exceeds 5%. However, feature reports, interviews, portraits and analyses can be grouped together as they all require further investigation by journalists. Together, they account for 10.6% of articles. Nevertheless, the smaller share of analytical articles should not be lost in this figure. Only nine (0.5%) may be considered to be a more thorough investigation into a topic, with a review of the context and inclusion of several points of view. Their placement in the newspaper is also rather surprising: these “exemplary” articles are all in the sports section where coverage of important matches requires a review of the season, interviewing people from each club and studying their strengths and weaknesses. “Investigative journalism” is not always where one might expect. Reminders (75, 4.5%, half of which include photos), even if they take up less space in the newspaper, are more numerous than feature reports. Their aim is to guide readers through the newspaper, sending them from one page to another, with a basic title that is sometimes completed with a few lines leading into the main article. This organisational structure has two levels that almost never overlap. The links to local pages are at the

Analysis Miscellaneous ‘Bunting’ articles Personality profiles Letters – Opinion columns Interviews In-depth features Reminders Announcements Practical information Reports

9 10 17 23 38 58 69 75 211 352 0

100

200

300

400

500

Fig. 7.1  Distribution of articles by type (author’s work)

600

700

789 800 900

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Undetermined 878 53%

Reader 36 2%

Correspondent 209 13%

Journalist 528 32%

Fig. 7.2  Distribution of articles by author (author’s work)

departmental or regional level. The front page has an obviously national ambition: it nearly always refers to the national and international sections, leaving very little space for local information. In other words, people read local information out of habit or principle, but not because a journalistic or editorial approach encourages them to do so. The situation is different for weeklies, and especially Le Penthièvre, where a number of municipalities are covered in a single issue. But these newspapers, contrary to the dailies, do not cover national or international news at all. Finally, each local newspaper leaves very little space for its readers’ opinions (38, 2.4%). Article Authors It may seem absurd to ask who writes in the newspaper (Fig.  7.2). However, the question deserves be to asked, if only to observe that for more than half the articles, it is impossible to determine who wrote them.6 6  It is easy to determine who wrote the articles when there is a byline, or when they are obviously the work of a journalist (interviews with a celebrity, for example) or correspondent (report on an evening event in a small town or neighbourhood).

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For practical information articles, this is not particularly troubling. Not knowing the author reporting opening hours of administrative offices, dates of upcoming concerts or the winners of the recent raffle is of little importance. But this type of information makes up only one-fifth of our corpus. Not being able to determine whether a journalist or correspondent7 wrote the captions for local photos, which generally cover events of little importance that are described quite factually, is also not particularly bothersome. A finer analysis of the issue of balance—especially in the sense of a critical perspective—that all the newspapers claim to maintain can be made of show or exhibition announcements. For the most part, they are comprised of excerpts from press kits that have been more or less copied to portray the innovative and unique nature of the activities as well as the exceptional talent of the artists. With regard to the inauguration of buildings or the introduction of new services, it can be quite troublesome to not know whether the content was written by a journalist or more directly by communication managers promoting such “events”. One example from our corpus shows the different interpretations that can be made when the author of an article is not known. In its 25 January 2005 edition, Le Télégramme devoted a quarter page to two military ships, one whose home port is Brest, which were sent on an operation in Sumatra to assist victims of the December 2004 tsunami. The article, which gives a glowing report on the French navy, includes quotes from officers and seamen. However, there is no mention of how the quotes were obtained: did they come from an official navy press release, a telephone interview, a report from a special envoy, or reports from seamen who had returned from duty? The article ends with the following, which is not acknowledged as a quote from someone interviewed but which nevertheless appears to be a quote: “There is no point in responding to those who, from the comfort of their cushy offices, criticised the French navy for its late intervention. The humanitarian aid has only just begun.” How can such a statement, whether from a journalist or an officer, be trusted if the source is not identified? How can one read, understand and interpret an article for which it is impossible to know the origin and which cannot be put in context? 7  Here, “correspondents” do not refer to foreign correspondents from major newspapers or press agencies but rather local press correspondents as defined by Article 10 of the French Act of 28 January 1987. Local press correspondents are not professional journalists. They are individuals who often work in another field but who write a significant part of the content for local regional newspapers, without a work contract and for very little pay.

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Entertain, Inform, Integrate… What did the 1651 articles from our corpus talk about? Local life as described by the Breton regional press can be divided into 11 themes (Fig. 7.3). The first is services, information about which is given as short, practical facts written in an often-telegraphic style. Next is sports, which largely dominates over the politics section, which includes the happenings of institutions from the municipal to the European levels, actions by political parties and associations, and urban development and neighbourhood life. This latter category includes neighbourhood groups and councils, proceedings such as conflict mediation, and actions by resident 350

316

301

300

Integrate 395 24%

Inform 599 36%

250 208

203

Entertain 657 40%

200 153 150 100

119

109

93 70

52

50 0

Fig. 7.3  The 11 themes and 3 functions of a local newspaper (author’s work)

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associations. Culture is the only other theme to exceed 10% of articles. Festivities of all kinds are still quite important. Social and community action come in at just over 7%, closely followed by security. The working world (from new businesses to union conflicts) accounts for over 5%. Closing out the list are various themes that receive very little coverage, wedding or funeral announcements and newspaper self-promotion, which includes the creation of new sections or events held by the newspaper, totalling 1.6% of articles. These results, which corroborate those of other similar studies (especially Ringlet 1981), reflect local life concerned with matters opposite to those that are important in the daily life of an “average” French person. Work, which takes up about a quarter of our days—without including our conversations about it outside of the workplace—accounts for just over 1/20 of the newspaper. Sport, on the other hand, to which the most assiduous devote at most 12 hours a week (1/15 of their time), takes up 1/5 of the newspaper. It is equally surprising that the themes of the environment, health and education, which have major implications on local residents’ lives, are so little covered by the newspapers that they had to be grouped together as “miscellaneous” to be visible. From these 11 themes, we can identify three major functions of local newspapers (Fig. 7.3). The main function is that of entertainment (39.8%). This includes sport, which, up to the amateur competitive level, is a recreational activity, as well as culture and festivities. A newspaper’s second function is to provide information (36.3%). Politics, social action, security, the working world and various other themes are included in this category, as well as explaining the world in which readers live. Finally, a local newspaper’s third function is to include its readers by offering services, informing them about weddings or funerals, and encouraging them to be loyal to their newspaper (23.9%).

Staying Upbeat To assess article tone—the way things are described—we drew inspiration from an analysis of local informational websites (city guides and municipal websites) carried out by Denis Ruellan (2001, pp. 214–217). “Across a scale that includes political leaning, business items and neutral services” (Ruellan 2001, p. 214), he distinguished ten ways to handle information. We adapted this approach and the scale so that instead of applying it to a

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general website or newspaper, it could be applied to particular articles that we separated into eight categories according to their “tone”. • Political leaning: the article’s author takes a particular political position. • Critical: the tone is one of criticism, generally directed at an institution. • Balanced: characterised by at least two points of view given in the article, or by the author’s attempt to place the subject in a broader context. With regard to a report on a political gathering, such as a municipal council meeting where several opinions are nearly always expressed, balanced reporting will be shown by the journalist’s fair coverage of the viewpoints. Otherwise, the article would be placed in the following category. • Clinical: a description of facts, often very detailed, which includes neither an opinion nor additional contextual information. • Practical: provision of information/services, brief and without embellishment, giving opening hours of the town hall and administrative services, announcements of senior club meetings or community associations, upcoming activities and so on. • Showcasing: “Saying something good about those who do something good for the local area” (Ruellan 2001, p.  215) is a way to describe this style, which highlights local residents, institutions and businesses. Any interviews that do not include “controversial” questions and strive to put the subject in their best light are also considered to be showcasing. • “Parroting”: an article where the author has clearly repeated the message of another person without using quotation marks or calling it into question or providing additional context. This is often the case for announcements for shows in which the journalist simply recopies the press kit materials. • Promotional: another form of showcasing, but this time with regard to a partnership or upon request of the individuals described in the article, such as with ambiguous “bunting articles”, for instance, while a store opening is indeed new “information”, a rave review about it is in fact advertising in disguise. This category also contains self-promotion in which the newspaper showcases itself. • Miscellaneous: rare educational articles, scam warnings and humorous pieces at the end of the week.

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The distribution of articles according to tone (Fig. 7.4) shows a clear prevalence of the clinical and practical categories (617 and 413 occurrences). In all, 62.4% of newspaper content is or is intended to be “neutral”. This is a clear majority, but it is also less than what might be expected. A large proportion of these neutral articles are information/service articles that would be hard to write using any other tone. Moreover, politically engaged or critical articles are few and far between (3.4%), which confirms the trend since the late nineteenth century of attempting to reach the masses and restrain newspapers’ political leanings. If local newspapers are not as neutral as expected, it is because they appear to have set themselves the mission of showcasing “who and what supports the region”. “Parroting”, showcasing and promotional articles account for 29.9% of the total. This trend clearly takes up a disproportionate amount of space, especially compared to balanced reporting—about which journalists like 700 617 600 500 413 400

345

300 200 100 18

38

60

0

Fig. 7.4  Distribution of articles by tone (author’s work)

66

82 12

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to boast—which totals only 4%. Many topics can be covered in a local newspaper, especially when it comes to entertainment and practical information, and preferably with an upbeat tone.

A Hierarchy of Article Topics Quotes and photographs of people or documents can be divided into 13 categories, as shown in Fig. 7.5. With regard to quotes, the uncontested stars of local newspapers are athletes, who come out ahead of association members and politicians. Artists are often shown in photos, but there are few politicians. A large number of various professionals—twice as many as private individuals—are interviewed. These individuals, who are asked to talk about their professional expertise, are perhaps the local equivalent of experts frequently called upon by the national media, and who make up only 1% of our corpus. Overall, these two groups bring to mind the same observation as the themes dealt with by the local press: the distribution of quoted and photographed sources is far removed from people’s actual lives. With regard to quotes, there is also a considerable imbalance within categories where leaders, regardless of their organisation, are largely dominant. Often, the

Athletes Members of associations Politicians Professionals Artists (professionals and amateurs) Administrations and institutions Private individuals Businesses Documents Miscellaneous Students Experts and celebrities The newspaper itself Total

quotes no. 205 194 151 109 79 74 52 45 31 24 17 10 2 993

% 20.6 19.5 15.2 11.0 8.0 7.5 5.2 4.5 3.1 2.4 1.7 1.0 0.2 100

photos no. 196 167 86 73 180 34 132 45 9 82 57 17 3 1081

Fig. 7.5  Sources cited in articles and shown in photos (author’s work)

% 18.1 15.4 8.0 6.8 16.7 3.1 12.2 4.2 0.8 7.6 5.3 1.6 0.3 100

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president of an association is quoted more often than a volunteer; the same goes for the head of a business versus an employee or the mayor versus a city council member. There are more than two trainers for each athlete in the local press, and more than two presidents for one volunteer, and this ratio increases to more than five if all association leaders are included (e.g., committee or board members, organisers, directors, jury members). Quotes from mayors and deputies are 3.5 times more numerous than those from city council members, and there are 18 times more from business leaders than from their employees. This imbalance within the categories disappears, however, in photos: there are two volunteers covered for one president or 12 players for one trainer, which is more practical for playing a football match, a favourite sport in local newspapers. But given the previous statistics, it is unlikely that this is done deliberately for equity’s sake. Generally speaking, there are more people in photos than people quoted in articles for a simple reason: newspapers can be sold to everyone who might be recognised, to their families and to their friends. The press today does not cover well-known personalities as did the press which dominated a century ago: it covers a range of subjects and calls on various sources without weighing down the pages with references to local elected officials. But behind this apparent diversity it really does much the same in a slightly different way. The circle of important local figures has been expanded to include business and association leaders and sports trainers, who form a sort of tightly knit local elite. Jacques Le Bohec’s quote about the relationships between local journalists and elected officials is quite fitting: “In many configurations, there is a sort of modus vivendi that leads elected officials and journalists to create a closed symbolic space where they applaud each other like members of a narrowly defined ‘elite’ group. […] This restricted space, which involves very few people, forbids using the words ‘local public space’ to describe life […] in most towns” (Le Bohec 1998, p. 196). The local press’s restricted coverage is further accentuated by the way in which it addresses (or does not address) failure. Of 993 people quoted in our corpus, just one was a jobseeker. The newspaper featured only 1 jobseeker out of nearly 1000 people quoted, although at the time of the study, there were 40 jobseekers for 1000 French people.8 Poverty, or at least a certain level of economic distress (not including jobseekers’ allowances or other benefits, for example), is 40 times less visible in the  Figure found in one of the newspapers in our corpus, Le Télégramme of 25 January 2005.

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newspaper than in real life. Many would like to think that such difficulties are fleeting, even though they lead to social exclusion for some, and the press prefers to devote its attention to sports and association activities, which bring people together.

Conclusion: Creating Diversion The local press appears to only be able to portray local life as a continual series of micro-events taken out of context. It publishes mainly practical information and factual articles, along with articles showcasing actions that are good for the region or the “heroes for a day”, to use the expression of Gabriel Ringlet, and a few investigations, portraits or in-depth analyses thrown in for good measure. The relationship that people maintain with their surrounding geographical or symbolic area—which is the result of a constantly changing process—can in no way be covered by the press. As for cultural and community life, the press has a glaring inability to escape an event-focused approach. A show is usually announced, and a review of the show may follow. But local newspapers never take account of the creative process, even for local artists who would be easy to follow more closely. As for the working world, newspapers report on strikes, labour conflicts and collective redundancies. But work itself—daily life inside companies or administrations—is never covered, which makes conflicts much more difficult to understand and reinforces the impression of brutality they give when they are reported in the newspaper. Just like culture and its players, the working world is presented as a volcano without any tools or experts to monitor it. When it erupts, everyone is surprised. But this is not because the eruption was unpredictable—it is because everyone was looking elsewhere. These two examples illustrate what Maurice Mouillaud and Jean-­ François Tétu called “the standard of fact”. For them, the supposed fundamental opposition between reality (facts, both material and chronological) on the one hand and information (constructed, shaped and disseminated) on the other must be reconsidered. There is a “spontaneous ideology of professionals” who construct a certain model of an event— and only the events that fit into this model can then become information. “The media events fit into formats that are already constructed in space and time,” says Mouillaud. Basically, “everything happens as if the newspaper were written on two levels: a surface to be read, and a stock of

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paradigms kept in storage like an archive” (Mouillaud and Tétu 1989, p. 26). It is the stock of paradigms that defines the standard of fact. In particular, it includes the institutional and temporarily fragmented vision of society found in the regional press. What should be understood here is that the way a journalist describes a fact is not determined solely by the fact itself. In a more profound way, how journalists subjectively portray an event and where they stand within the social environment to observe it play just as large a role in how they will describe it. In a way, the only thing that can happen is that which is expected. What can be expected of and accepted in community life are festivities, meetings, shows and occasionally a criminal trial. But there is no room for processes, which are slow and constantly being questioned, that build identities, relate people to the territory or develop individuals and social groups. The hypothesis of a mismatch between the world described by the local press and that which its readers experience is therefore largely confirmed and could explain flagging regional press sales. This mismatch appears to be fairly recent: it began no more than 30 years ago, when the regional press began to face its first challenges and criticisms. Previously, the press and society interacted and evolved simultaneously, which in turn supported the economic development of the regional press. This more detailed analysis shows that, despite an apparent diversity, local information, which is often neutral but generally complacent and almost never critical, follows a strict hierarchy. As if it were stuck in the consensus-based model that made it successful a century ago, the press embodies the four characteristics of local information defined by Jean-­ François Tétu. Local information is reassuring: it includes the individual in a group and talks mostly about festivities but not conflict. It is demonstrative: it displays and aggrandises neighbourhood or town organisations, but hides in-depth processes. It is mundane in that it covers “only successes and makes extraordinary events banal” (Tétu 1995, p. 293). Finally, it is promotional: it inserts itself in a permanent institution of micro-­ organisations and important local figures. The structure of local information thus appears to be guided by a vision of the world that favours social stability and calm. But the world is complex, made up of constant, long-­ term interactions. Just as the public space and territory are shaped by an essential dynamic dimension, the way in which people form their opinion or relationship to a territory is the result of a process that is constantly changing. To deal with this, the local press retains only superficial information created from a juxtaposition of micro-events without context,

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cause or consequence. It distracts and diverts the public’s attention away from the depth and diversity of society to focus on an extremely simplified social construct. The main mechanism at work in the regional press appears to be that of creating diversion.

References ACPM. (2019). L’Observatoire 2019. Retrieved November 09, 2019, from https:// www.acpm.fr/Les-chiffres/Observatoire-2019-de-l-ACPM-Syntheses-2018. Charon, J.-M. (2003). Les Médias en France. Paris: La Découverte. DDM [French Ministry of Culture]. (2007). Tableaux statistiques de la presse édition 2007. Paris: La Documentation française. Retrieved November 09, 2019, from https://www.culture.gouv.fr/Media/Thematiques/Presse/Files/ Chiffres-annees-precedentes/TSP/Tableaux-statistiques-de-la-presse-2005. DGMIC [French Ministry of Culture]. (2016). Résultats d’ensemble  – Séries longues au format tableur – 1985–2016. Retrieved November 09, 2019, from https://www.culture.gouv.fr/Media/Thematiques/Presse/Files/Chiffres-etStatistiques/Series-longues-de-la-presse-editeur-de-1985-a-2016.xls. DGMIC [French Ministry of Culture]. (2017). Le tirage des quotidiens de 1945 à 2017. Retrieved November 09, 2019, from https://www.culture.gouv.fr/ Media/Thematiques/Presse/Files/Chiffres-et-Statistiques/ Le-tirage-des-quotidiens-de-1945-a-2017-Series-longues. Jeanneney, J.-N. (1998). Une histoire des médias. Paris: Seuil. Langonné, J., Trédan, O., & Gestin, P. (2017). L’émergence des pure-players hyper-locaux ou la transformation de la chaîne de production de l’information locale. International conference of the Gis-Journalisme, “Les écritures du journalisme”, Paris, France, March 2017. Retrieved November 09, 2019, from https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02333149. Le Bohec, J. (1998). La question du “rôle démocratique” de la presse locale en France. Hermès, 26–27, 185–198. Martin, M. (2002). La Presse régionale. Paris: Fayard. Mouillaud, M., & Tétu, J.-F. (1989). Le Journal quotidien. Lyon: Presses universitaires de Lyon. OJD. (2006a). 16e Observatoire de la presse. Retrieved June 15, 2019, from http:// ballarini.fr/loic/d/acpm/observatoire_16_gp.pdf. OJD. (2006b). Book Presse payante grand public 2006, Paris. Retrieved June 15, 2019, from http://ballarini.fr/loic/d/acpm/124-Book-Presse-PayanteGP-2006.pdf. Pailliart, I. (1994). Les Territoires de la communication. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble.

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Ringlet, G. (1981). Le Mythe au milieu du village, comprendre et analyser la presse locale. Bruxelles: Vie ouvrière. Ruellan, D. (2001). Guides de villes et sites municipaux. In B. Damian, R. Ringoot, D.  Thierry, & D.  Ruellan (Eds.), information.loc@l, Le paysage médiatique régional à l’ère électronique (pp. 203–218). Paris: L’Harmattan. Tétu, J.-F. (1995). L’espace public local et ses médiations. Hermès, 17–18, 287–298.

CHAPTER 8

Media Coverage of the Coalbed Methane (CBM) Controversy in Lorraine, Northeast France: How the Regional Daily Press Boosted the Social Acceptability of an Unpopular Project Marieke Stein

The regional daily press is a key news provider in France, and covers the country’s news items in the most detail and with the biggest range of scale, because it provides readers with news from their neighbourhood or village to around the world. The regional daily press is therefore often the first place where readers learn about controversies, especially concerning the environment. While these may appear to be circumscribed within a local geographical area, they may become issues of general interest because of the risks involved. Nonetheless, as we have seen in the previous chapter, the regional press in France is more often complacent than critical of existing political or economic forces. How then does the press react when a

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_8

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controversy arises? That is the question that Marieke Stein asks, by analysing the media coverage of the project to extract coalbed methane through hydraulic fracturing in Moselle, in the eastern region of Lorraine, France. Over a period of 12 years, from 2006 to 2018, a study of all articles published on the topic in Le Républicain Lorrain, the only local daily, shows three distinct phases. At the beginning, the daily regional press expressed cautious support for the as yet uncertain project. The company behind it was quite frank about the technical difficulties involved and that there was no guarantee of it being a profitable operation. After a two-year delay due to national and international controversy about shale gas (another unconventional-­hydrocarbon whose operation also requires hydraulic fracturing), which arose around exploratory projects in France and early environmentalist criticism in the United States, the company changed its strategy and succeeded in using the local press to its advantage, as it was the only one to provide a coherent discourse on the topic. In 2015, a counter-discourse began to appear, which led to the emergence of the controversy, that is to say a situation in which the public was put in the position of having to arbitrate on a disagreement between two parties, with each party attempting to limit or fuel the controversy. Whereas the local press gave opponents the opportunity to voice their opinion, it attempted to discredit their arguments and eventually completely omitted to mention them. But in doing so, the local press simply discredited itself by offering biased coverage of a public issue. Origin of the text: Excerpt from the author’s habilitation research thesis, defended in March 2020. Translated by: Niamh O’Brien (Coup de Puce Expansion)

M. Stein (*) Centre de recherche sur les médiations (Crem), Université de Lorraine, Metz, France e-mail: [email protected]

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Despite the rise of the blogosphere and social media, the printed press, and particularly the regional daily press, still plays a critical role for the key figures in controversial issues, especially those related to the environment. We are seeing increasingly more controversies arising from regional planning projects. The Notre-Dame des Landes airport project, the nuclear waste disposal site in Bure, northeast France, the dam at Sivens and the GCO (Strasbourg motorway bypass) are just some examples of controversial issues with a country-wide impact and which became national public interest issues following regional demonstrations and their coverage by regional media outlets. In this way, regional dailies often play a decisive role in granting (or not granting) platforms to whistle-blowers and activist citizen groups, and ultimately are responsible for launching (or not launching) public debates about a given controversial project.

The Press and Controversy, an Intertwined Relationship The Critical Role of the Press for the Key Figures in a Controversy The conventional media, it could be said, hold the keys to public controversy, as it is they who inform a society of an issue creating dissensus (Charaudeau 2014) by making the various parties’ positions public. According to Cyril Lemieux, “controversies are situations for which a difference of opinion between two parties is presented to an audience, who becomes the third party acting as a judge. […] It always involves creating the conditions necessary to call the public to bear witness and make it a resource in a debate” (Lemieux 2007, p.  191). The “triadic” nature of controversies, and the need to use the public as a third-party witness to ensure that a topic becomes a public issue, reveals the importance of the press and “traditional” media as essential mediators when a debate arises on technical and scientific projects. While information is mainly conveyed via the Internet today, the proliferation of contradictory information that we can find on the web about controversial topics makes it harder for non-­ experts to separate verified data from pure allegations. The conventional media are supposed to provide information that is checked, certified and two-sided, thereby enabling less involved citizens to learn about controversial issues and establish their own first opinion. In addition, we generally learn about and make “first contact” with a controversy through the conventional media, and then seek further information on the Internet.

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The role of mediator is especially important, as projects that have an environmental impact also affect society. For example, mining affects local populations in terms of pollution, and potentially employment. These projects also have political significance, (for instance, the decision to harness an energy source or build an airport is a political one). Therefore, urban planning and industrial and infrastructure projects require visibility so that civil society can become aware of them and understand what is at stake. As such, the press has a decisive role in the practice of democracy in pluralist societies. The role is not easy for journalists, however, as they are caught in the middle between the opposing efforts of the various actors to confine or reveal the controversy. Controversies emerge when the conflict between the promoters of a project and its opponents is taken out of the closed environments where decisions are made (e.g., in a minister’s office, in a city council meeting and at an informal meeting between decision-makers) and enters the public arena. The publicisation of conflict, and the arguments of both sides, can create a knock-on effect and potentially cause problems for the project’s promoters, leading to protests, site occupations and other legal action. It is often therefore in the project promoters’ interest to prevent “sensitive” projects from being made public. To do this, they need to minimise the protests and ensure that the media couch the controversy in a certain way. Inversely, those who rally against a project try to obtain as much coverage of their actions and arguments as possible, taking advantage of the fact that controversies clearly offer the opportunity of overthrowing previously established relationships and beliefs (Lemieux 2007, p.  191). For these activists, media coverage of their arguments and actions is vital to shift the balance of power in their favour. The media contribute by making the decision to initiate or even resolve a controversial issue and are not a neutral forum for a simple debate in front of the public, who represent the third party. According to Igor Babou and Joëlle Le Marec, they are “contributors to the construction of power of expression” (2015, p. 118). Controversy, a Challenge for the Press Public controversy—a form of confrontation that implies arguments and the equal rights of participants to debate them—requires relatively balanced coverage by the press of the various parties and their arguments. For journalists, this is a difficult task. Firstly, because social and technical controversies involve complex issues that require much reading and research in order to be fully grasped and understood, which non-expert journalists working to tight deadlines cannot afford when writing for a regional daily. They thus risk having to depend on the “definers” (decision-makers,

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industrialists and communicators) who ensure that the controversial issue is framed in a certain way. Furthermore, it may be more appealing to journalists to accept the ready-to-use interpretations, since they save time and effort—the success of the convenient but simplistic “NIMBY1 syndrome” as an explanation for almost all local opposition movements that fall into the category of “ready-to-use” interpretations. Covering controversies can thus be a really difficult task for the media, while revealing, at the same time as it intensifies them, the structural difficulties of the journalist’s trade. One specific example—the current controversy concerning exploratory drilling for coalbed methane in the Lorraine coal basin—provides an opportunity to question the role and positioning of the regional daily press in a local environmental conflict.

Changes in Media Coverage of the Coalbed Methane (CBM) Controversy in Lorraine, Northeast France Coalbed methane (CBM) or “gas from a coal layer” is considered to be an “unconventional” hydrocarbon, meaning it is harnessed in deep deposits with low permeability. Its extraction requires complex techniques such as horizontal drilling, generally associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking), whose environmental impacts have been well documented (Bonijoly et al. 2013). In France, CBM has never been developed due to the technical challenges and a regulatory environment that is unfavourable to unconventional hydrocarbons (the Loi Jacob banned hydraulic fracturing in 2011). But in the Lorraine region, an Australian company has been conducting exploratory drilling for CBM in the coal basin since 2006. A study of the available scientific and technical documents show that this project is essentially speculative (Sacher 2015) and that even if gas were extracted, the economic benefit for the region of Lorraine would be modest (Ferey 2016). Even though 12 years of exploration and five drilling projects have not yet proven the potential for commercial development of CBM in Lorraine, the press (and especially the regional daily press) nonetheless conveys a very positive image of this project, despite the reality in the field, and helps to contain the lively, but for the moment, local controversy surrounding it. In this article, we shall study their methods, objectives and impact. This study is based on the analysis of a corpus of all articles on CBM published in the regional daily, Le Républicain Lorrain, found by searching 1  “Not in My Back Yard” is a pejorative acronym made popular by communicators of contested industries and used frequently by researchers and in the media to explain away protests against industrial or local planning projects by blaming the selfish interests of residents.

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Fig. 8.1  Media coverage of CBM in Le Républicain Lorrain (author’s work)

with the keywords “gaz de houille”, “gaz de charbon” (coal gas), “gaz de couche” (coalbed gas), “grisou” (firedamp) and “coalbed methane”. This yielded 185 articles covering a period from 2006 to 2018. Quantitative analysis using ATLAS.ti coding software reveals the statistical frequency of the arguments used, the main sources cited, the manner in which they are referred to and the methods used to incorporate their quotations depending on the stages of the controversy and the cycles of media coverage. Discourse analysis is then performed to interpret the findings, while immersion provides context and puts the texts analysed into perspective. The regional daily press coverage of this controversy changed over time, and overall can be divided into three periods (Fig. 8.1). Stage 1 (2006–2010): The Regional Daily Press Stands with Its Local Area by Tentatively Supporting an Uncertain Project The first period corresponds to the time before the controversy. This refers to the initial exploratory drilling conducted by European Gas Limited (EGL) in 2006. It is important to note that at the time, there was no regulation requiring the publicising of licence requests. The population was therefore unaware of these projects. Nonetheless, a few articles were published in Le Républicain Lorrain (RL) when the company started the work, to inform the local population of the first wells they saw being drilled. There was no adverse reaction to this drilling. After a century of coal

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mining, the people living in this coal mining region were rather favourable to an industrial project that might reverse the economic decline that followed the mine closures in 2004. Furthermore, the articles that described EGL’s initial drilling operations, between 2006 and 2008, were factual, and the headlines purely descriptive (“Australians scouting for gas in the coal basin”, RL, 2/8/2006; “Water found in the gas but they’re still drilling”,2 RL, 15/11/2007). These articles cautiously present the Australian company’s project as uncertain, given the complexity of the Lorraine subsurface and the technology used to extract methane from the deep coal seams. The regional press described the reservations of EGL personnel, who at the time were very open about how speculative the activity was and the problems and uncertainties surrounding the technological challenge involved, and even that they were not counting on the project creating new jobs. The national technical director for Charbonnages de France, Alain Rollet […] would prefer to remain prudent about the probability of success in this drilling programme. ‘Let’s not get carried away with the idea of becoming the new Texas!’ he said, pointing out that several similar projects had already been carried out in Germany […]. If by any chance EGL did succeed, the gas from Lorraine wouldn’t create thousands of jobs like coal did, because ‘it’s a highly automated activity’, says Alain Rollet. (RL, 22-2-2006)

Company geologists, interviewed by the regional press, even spoke about the difficulties encountered in the wells, and openly envisaged using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—a method then completely unknown to the French public. “We use horizontal drilling techniques and fracturing”, explained geologist Virginie Poirier. “This involves cracking open the coal seams so that the gas is freed and the methane flows upwards to the surface”, she explained (La Semaine numérique, 1 August, 2008). Stage 2 (2012–2015): The Manipulation of the Regional Press for Crisis and Acceptability Communication Everything changed in 2010–2011, when the French controversy over shale gas erupted. On 6 October, 2010, an article by journalist Fabrice Nicolino was published in Charlie Hebdo informing readers that a shale gas exploration license had been granted for the south of France. This was 2  In French the expression “il y a de l’eau dans le gaz” indicates that a conflict is about to erupt. Unfortunately it can only be translated literally into English, thus conveying only part of the loaded title.

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followed by news of dozens of unconventional-hydrocarbon exploration licenses, including the licenses to drill for CBM in Lorraine, granted by the French Minister of Ecology between 2007 and 2010. The “rapid rallying” (Chateauraynaud and Debaz 2011) of citizens and elected representatives to fight these projects led to the vote on the “Loi Jacob” in July 2011, banning hydraulic fracturing. While this Act did not fully satisfy the groups and officials who protested against shale gas, it had a profound effect on the gas, oil and oil-related industries (see Baudrin et al. 2014). What is more, this political upheaval coincided with a major media event—the French release of the film Gasland, directed by Josh Fox, (released in 2010 in the United States and 2011 in France). The film shines a spotlight on the dangers, pollution and risks incurred in shale gas production in the United States. Coalbed methane, just like shale gas, requires horizontal drilling, generally combined with stimulating the rock formation—not during exploratory drilling, but in view of commercial development. The shale gas crisis therefore compromised the acceptability of EGL’s projects. To avoid opposition movements spreading to the coal basin, in 2012 the company created a communication strategy designed to deal with possible crises, influence public opinion and inspire acceptance—more generally, what Thierry Libaert and François Allard-Huver (2014) refer to as “communication on sensitive issues”. After a lengthy period of media silence between 2009 and 2011, partly due to operational difficulties but also perhaps because of the need to avoid attracting attention during the shale gas controversy, a period of media coverage began in May 2012, which coincided with the launch of the company’s communication strategy. This strategy consisted mainly of a major semantic-adaptation effort that distorted the public’s perception of the very nature of the gas being sought. The first articles that appeared during the media coverage period that began in autumn 2012 took a twopronged approach: first they dissociated CBM from shale gas, and then conflated CBM with energy sources that were already known in the coal basin, such as coal gas and firedamp—two false associations that became the basis for all of the company’s PR releases from then on. The term “coal gas” is inappropriate because it refers to a manufactured gas, a by-product of the combustion of coal to form coke, which was used in streetlamps at the end of the nineteenth century. It was then used in cities for heating, especially in the Lorraine coal basin, until the late 1990s. This is manipulative, as it falsely identifies an unconventional gas, never previously extracted in France, to a familiar gas which is cheap and even ecologically virtuous, as it involves reusing waste products that contribute to the circular economy.

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“Firedamp” is a vernacular term for the methane that accumulates in the coal mines during coal extraction. Creating this conflation plays on the affective memory of the term. This gas, well known and feared by miners, is presented as the company’s exploration aim, with the notion that they could potentially control, domesticate and transform it into a useful energy source. Claiming to harness firedamp symbolically means fighting the miners’ past enemy. This is irrelevant, as there are no more active mines in Lorraine, so there are no longer miners in danger and there is no more methane in the tunnels of the coal basin. EGL drills wells in coal seams that were never exploited, on the outskirts of the former coal mining areas. It is an effective story, because it evokes well known elements and hints at revenge against an enemy of bygone days and of economic revival based on taming a deadly gas. This was the starting point for an advertorial entitled “Le charbon: la veine de la Lorraine”3 published by Le Républicain lorrain: Did you say coal gas? A fascinating and fearful topic. The history of Lorraine is partly built on firedamp. While coal made the region rich in the past, coal gas can provide its wealth in the future. (RL, 7/4/2016)

Going beyond this appealing storytelling, other features of this communication strategy borrow from the clichés of acceptability-enhancing strategies, previously used by the major fossil energy operators (CEO et al. 2018). These included promises of reviving the local economy, more employment, and eliminating France’s dependence on gas imports. These promises were mainly based on false data which contradict the reality in the field, such as an exaggeration of the number of jobs that would be created (estimates varied from single to double figures depending on the texts); an emphasis on “green” and clean energy without chemical products (which contradicted the findings of the state supervisory departments); the use of paid scientific approval. Ultimately, this communication strategy aimed to get rid of all uncertainties—technical (the technique to be used is described as mature, efficient and well under control), environmental (the process is presented as having no impact) and economically worthwhile (the economic benefits are presented as a certainty).

3  Translator’s note: the title is a pun on the word veine, referring to the coal seams and comparing them to a streak of luck for Lorraine.

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This strategic communication by the company, which aims to avoid any manifestation of dissensus around its activities, was disseminated widely by the press, and especially by Le Républicain Lorrain, with headlines evoking the same type of promises for the economy: “An Eldorado of firedamp in Moselle-Est” (RL, 6/12/2012), “Coal gas, a treasure buried beneath our feet” (RL, 6/12/2012), “Firedamp royale!” (RL, 1/1/2013), “The future of Moselle is in coal gas” (RL, 1/1/2013). Although no tangible progress had been made that could justify this enthusiasm, the regional daily press publicised the company’s new line just as it had previously written about the project’s uncertainties. Recurrent, yet incorrect, use of the term “firedamp”, in particular, was partly a simple echo of the company’s communication message, and partly an effort to boost readership (Charaudeau 2010). For the readers of local newspapers, the term “firedamp” is worrying, due to the affective connotations and memories it evokes. The same wording therefore reappears frequently—“firedamp, the miner’s nightmare”, or “firedamp, the miner’s enemy”—in the headline or subheading, and then leads on to an interpretation that is extremely favourable to industrial activity. For example: “In Lorraine, we’re no strangers to firedamp, especially its negative consequences deep down in the mines. But coal gas could be the energy of the future” (RL, 6/12/2012). For a review of the often-discussed distinction between misinformation (intentional communication of false information), disinformation (a wider term that includes unintentional communication of false information) and lack of information (a lack of media pluralism, see Andreas Freund 1991, p. 44), this period can be described as suffering from a lack of information. As there is no structured discourse that criticises the company line, journalists had no other solution but to interview the same people: senior managers or personnel in the drilling company and local and regional officials (who in turn were targeted by the lobbying effort of the company, whose strategy changed in 2012). Up until 2012, the company’s technicians and engineers were spokespersons, and they never concealed the problems related to exploratory drilling. The new CEO, a lobbyist and excellent “storyteller”, took over in 2012. Everyone then began to repeat the same company line and use the same vocabulary, resulting in wooden speech (Krieg-Planque and Oger 2017), and establishing a misleading narrative of the company’s activities, in order to create a false consensus.

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Stage 3 (Autumn 2015–2018): The Regional Daily Press at the Centre of the Controversy—Shifting from Biased Press Coverage of Opponents to a Media Blackout The situation changed from lack of information to disinformation between autumn 2015, when a storm of controversy broke out over new CBM drilling projects, and winter 2016, when the local journalists for Le Républicain Lorrain stopped covering the protests by opponents, despite their frequency (marches, film screenings etc.). This led to a stage whereby the controversy was confined. Since 2014, a public enquiry is required by law for any new hydrocarbon drilling requests. The projects are therefore publicised and the technical files and environmental impact studies are made available in the town halls of the municipalities in question. In September 2015, residents of three municipalities learned of new exploration projects, bringing the total to seven pairs of wells. The information available in the town halls made it possible for citizens consulting them to understand that the projects concerned not firedamp, but CBM—a cousin of shale gas, tapped by horizontal drilling with multiple drains and “stimulation” of the rock (DAOTM, page 6 of document no. 4). Opposition arose, and took shape in the form of an association and several groups that turned to the regional daily press to spread awareness about their arguments. Multiple awareness-raising actions such as walks and public meetings featured in several articles in Le Républicain Lorrain between October 2015 and October 2016. In quantitative terms, there was overrepresentation of articles whose main subject was activist campaigns. Once the articles that simply mentioned the project are excluded, 33 of the 55 articles during that period addressed the actions undertaken by opponents, and only 8 were exclusively about the company. The rest focused on the controversy. However, a qualitative analysis of the 185 articles of the corpus refutes this impression, and, on the contrary, reveals evidence of media coverage of the various stakeholders that was clearly favourable to the company.

The Regional Daily Press and Some Techniques Used to Build a Consensus Framing a Subject to Magnify/Minimise Its Impact Discursive analysis of the articles during the third period reveals that media coverage explicitly went against the citizen movement. Articles discrediting the opponents aimed to minimise the dissensus by reducing the scope

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and aim of their activism, rather than their visibility. Several journalistic techniques contributed to this result. Firstly, articles were framed, which consisted in “selecting some aspects of a perceived reality and making them more prominent in a communicative text, in such a way as to highlight a definition of a particular problem, causal interpretation, moral appraisal, and/or the recommendation of a treatment for the item described”. For journalists, this framing involves choosing the page or publication (local or regional), a press genre (news in brief, report, interview etc.), the section (which sets out the dominant angle, be it political, economic, environmental or otherwise), a headline, subheading, images, captions, text blocks and the layout. These choices, applied to all the articles in the corpus, show unequal coverage of the stakeholders, and are clearly favourable to the development of CBM in the Moselle region. The disproportion can be seen first of all in the framing by page. Articles about the protestors’ actions generally appear in the local news pages (79% of the articles) or in the snippets in regional news pages (almost half of the 21% of articles published in the “regional” pages), whereas the project promoter received more coverage in long articles, with photographs in regional pages (45.5%), in the “economy”, “energy” or “employment” sections of the papers. The “minimizing” sections (e.g., “spotted”, “what they said” and “newsflash”) feature a third of the articles on citizen protestors, but less than a quarter of the articles that talk about the company. Similar unequal treatment can be seen in the press genres used: short snippets or short articles for opponents, and a full report, front page headline or interview for the project promoter (Fig. 8.2). These long formats allow more room for explanations and offer more space to convince and appeal to the reader’s attention, with large-format images. The use of interviews in particular enables the project promoter to expand on its argument, whereas the quotes from citizen protestors are often reported in minimalist forms of narrative discourse or free indirect speech, with disqualifying comment on the part of the journalists. The interview as a genre is a space for developing an argument and discussion, and as such is a platform for the company. This could be seen as allowing too much leeway, as indicated by Roselyne Ringoot in Analyser le discours de presse: “Indulgent questions and predictable answers downgrade the interview to a promotional genre, which is an indication of either the journalist’s incompetence or the newspaper’s lack of integrity” (2014, p. 124).

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30

25

20

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10

5

0

Fig. 8.2  Press genres used (author’s work)

(Dis)qualifying the Opponents In addition to the analysis of framing effects (titles, pages, sections and journalistic genres used), analysis of discourse and enunciations in the articles also revealed different treatment of the industrial operators and citizens protesting against the drilling. This dissymmetry can be seen first of all in the “journalists’ comments” used when mentioning individual people. The opponents’ arguments are generally presented as “fears”, “worries” or “concerns”, including in the article titles (“Coal gas development: fear of the unknown”, RL, 5/12/2015; “Coalbed methane: panic in Lachambre”, RL, 6/11/2016), whereas a more rational lexicon is used to present the company and its speech. One article in particular featured a number of discourse processes that reveal the extremely unequal treatment of the company and the opponents. During a town council meeting in October 2015, two representatives of the opponents’ group presented their arguments before the presentation of the industrial project, made by two company employees. Against all expectations, the group’s documented, structured presentation won the support of almost all council members. Nevertheless, the journalist wrote: [Name], for the group Protégeons notre cadre de vie (“protect our way of life”) opened proceedings by repeating the recurring tropes often used

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by associations that have begun to flourish in recent years in the sector, in response to the FDE’s drilling plans: too many trucks passing, too much noise, risk of water pollution, the no-fracking guarantee—which the “anti” group don’t believe —, a lack of job creation, or at least not in significant numbers […].4 Defending the interests of La Française de l’énergie were [Name], consultant, and [Name], head of the geology team. […] “We received no unfavourable opinion from the prefecture” was their opening statement, and that could have been sufficient on its own, at least legally speaking. The two men also presented an argument that went beyond authorisations and legal texts: hydraulic fracturing would not take place; importing gas from Russia creates a greater carbon footprint than if it was produced here; the Carling complex is far more dangerous; the 96 decibels (of noise) on the site drops to 32 decibels near residential areas; truck traffic in Longeville would only increase by 1.3% compared to current traffic levels. (RL, 25/10/2015. Emphasis mine)

This article is one of the rare articles in the corpus where the two opposing points of view are presented symmetrically, following the same approach: a presentation of the speakers, a qualification of their speech and a summary of their arguments. But the symmetry stops there. Just as in all of the articles in Le Républicain Lorrain that introduce both parties, the company’s arguments are mentioned last, thereby gaining more weight as they close the debate in favour of the project promoters. The introduction of the various speakers varies. The spokesperson for the opponents, while an academic, is simply introduced as belonging to the activist group and is therefore deprived of any other legitimacy, particularly cognitive. The company representatives, on the other hand, are introduced by their position in the company, which provides them with extra-discursive legitimacy (“consultant”, “geologist”, “manager”). Similarly, the lexicon used to characterise the opponents’ speech evokes a certain banality and is compared to popular beliefs, with the series of three terms that indicate repetition, and in a superfluous manner (“repeating”, “recurrent”, “tropes”). Inversely, the speech by the company representatives is presented as the rational option, mentioning legality and denoted by the words “argument”, “legally speaking” and “legal texts”. The substance of this speech is emphasised by the citation placed within quotation marks, the mention of figures (which indicates precision—despite the fact that the opponents’ speech also featured 4

 European Gas Limited (EGL) was renamed La Française de l’Énergie (FDE) in July 2015.

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figures) and the juxtaposition of verbal phrases, which provides more precision than the nominal form used for the opponents’ arguments, which were furthermore trivialised by the repetitious effect produced by the anaphora “too many/too much”. To conclude, the subtly subjective assessment by the journalist inversed the competitive advantage, which during the meeting swung in favour of the opponents. This routine designation of the opponents and their arguments can be often seen in local environmentalist movements. Sometimes the opponents’ words are even replaced by a pejorative narrative. For example, a march organised in 2016 was recounted as follows: “In addition to the food available on site, a map of planned drilling operations was also provided to feed anxieties” (RL, 11/4/2016). An article from December 2015 went even further, taking advantage of a debate organised by the editors of Le Républicain Lorrain at its premises on 5 December, between the managing director of EGL and an opponent selected (coincidentally?) from among those who least understood the subject matter, despite the fact that at that time there were already plenty of known, well-informed opponents. This confrontation enabled the journalist to write up an image of the “ignorant” opponent as the archetype of the citizen protesting against drilling, in a sidebar with the heading “Mr Joe Soap struggles to convince”: An awkward feeling is all that remains after this face-to-face confrontation. The debate featured an extremely well-informed expert who spoke with conviction and multiple technical references, and an everyday man in the street, who was obviously much less knowledgeable about the subject. Lacking the ability to debate, he was left asking questions. Xavier Walter is nonetheless a very staunch opponent. He led the protest this Wednesday in Metz. This is often the case, however, for local residents placed before a fait accompli with projects that go over their heads, scientifically speaking. […] The scientific perspective, individual commitment and the pooling of opposition groups are as yet absent in the protest movement against coal gas extraction in Moselle-Est. (RL, 5-12-2015. Emphasis mine)

This generalisation of the opponents’ incompetence discredits an entire movement, based on a single example. Another line was crossed in the spring of 2016 when journalists stopped interviewing opponents in order to delegate the wording of their

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arguments to the company itself. Take this interview with the company’s CEO as an example: (Question) Locally, there are citizen groups forming, as people fear the disturbances the project will bring, and suspect that you will use hydraulic fracking techniques. What do you have to say about that? (Answer) Our extraction technique is not invasive; the gas is collected naturally at the surface once the well has been drilled. There is no hydraulic fracturing! Despite all the promises given, the proof of the quality of our work and our continuous commitment to development in the areas where we will be working, we encounter people that go against us and they don’t necessarily have any precise knowledge or expertise on the issue. That’s the challenge facing all industrial and innovative projects in our society. (RL, 3/6/2016)

In one interview, the journalist manages to discredit all the opponents by labelling them with presumed ignorance and sell a project as “innovative”; this is not a hapax. It occurs frequently, from 2016 on, as can be seen in this interview with the CEO in the weekly Lorraine newspaper, La Semaine: [Question] Why are your opponents so strongly motivated? [Answer] I think there’s a very simple psychological aspect, which comes down to—once you’re drilling, there is danger. There have been erroneous comparisons. Concerns over the soil and the groundwater have been proven to be unfounded. As I’ve already said, we work with experts in all of these fields. (La Semaine, 9/1/2018)

The generalisation (“once you’re drilling, there is danger”), the vocabulary focusing on fear and error, creates the image of backwards, anguishstricken opponents that are far beneath the “experts in all of these fields” whom the CEO says he relies on. It would seem that this pejorative treatment of activist citizens (referred to as the “antis” or the “écolos”, or eco-warriors, in France) is in fact habitual for journalists who have greater respect for known entrepreneurs with an established social status, clearly defined skills and are considered to be the “knowledgeable” ones (interview with a journalist, 22 April, 2017). When choosing their sources from the types of actors involved, the regional media, even more so than the national media, favour the project promoter, followed by local elected representatives. “Ordinary” people

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are not seen as key actors in a controversial issue, but rather as press subjects. Publicising the Company’s Message After 2012, articles in the regional daily press on the CBM drilling in Lorraine evolved towards a position of clear support on the part of the newspaper and the journalists in favour of the gas operator, at the expense of media attention for arguments raised by the project’s opponents. The headlines, which “summarise, abridge and freeze the information so that it becomes the essential point of the story. The headlines therefore acquire their own status. They become texts in their own right that are presented to readers as the starring roles on the information stage” (Charaudeau 1983, p. 102), they are often framed in a way that supports the drilling (“The future of Lorraine is in coalbed methane”, 1/1/2013; “Coal gas: the gentle method”, 4/11/2017), and often consist of disinformation, pure and simple: “Gas in the local network”, RL, 1/7/2017. This article specifies that the development will go ahead “if everything goes well”, because no gas had been thus far extracted. But the headlines and subheadings give the idea that the drilling is a success, and therefore help to justify it. Several newspapers then began to support the company’s promotional rhetoric, and more and more took up the company line or else promoted its identity. In doing so, the barrier between information and communication strategy becomes blurred, and the “readership commitment” by the daily paper to its readers to “provide information” is now biased (Charaudeau 2006, p. 2). Beginning in 2016 especially, the opponents’ arguments, and even the opponents themselves were first discredited, then described in a negative way by the company, and finally excluded from the regional daily press. When that happens, the newspaper is no longer a simple vector of information but plays an active role in the controversy, because it relays the message of the speakers and either justifies or disqualifies their positions. The apparent effacing of the journalist’s own form of expression, the presenting of the company’s speech as objective, the increasingly assertive manner in which local gas production is presented—no longer uncertain but guaranteed and even operational—shifted the media’s discourse from that of an informative aim to a persuasive aim (designed to neutralise opposition in an attempt to ensure that the project would be socially acceptable) and eventually to a “promotional” aim. This diversion from

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the commitment to readers obviously raises ethical issues, because the reader is given so-called information which is in fact corporate communication. The newspaper is therefore manipulated by the company in accordance with a process described by Roselyne Ringoot: “Ultimately, one message is justified by another, in order to present a corporate communication message as information via the press” (2014, p. 166).

Ethical and Democratic Issues The vulnerability of newspapers to this type of manipulation can be explained by the fragile nature of the current media ecosystem. Falling newspaper sales and fewer journalists mean that there are less resources for investigation and fact-checking. The journalists interviewed for this chapter said they had no time, even after several years of controversy, to read the French reference study on CBM—the “Synthèse sur le gaz de houille” (report on coal gas) by the BRGM and INERIS.5 The only journalist who read it was also the only one with a critical view of the company’s promises, and the only one to have written balanced articles based on interviews with various people. This journalist works for a regional weekly newspaper, and says they are less subjected to the rapid information cycle than their daily press colleagues. The regional weekly journalist is therefore less likely to accept ready-to-use information provided by the company. In addition, the smaller formats and the preference for short articles in daily newspapers encourage the publication of simple, summarised and deliberately simplified information, highly unsuitable for reporting on the complexity of social and technological issues. This situation also explains newspapers’ bias in terms of its sources. For locally based journalists, sources are accessed through a routine. Old bonds formed with local officials, the key figures in public life in the area and which have sometimes been there for years, allow little room for new arrivals, who have yet to prove their credibility. Furthermore, the journalists might not have the time or be interested in going to meet 5  Bureau de Recherche Géologie et Minière (BRGM), the French geological and mining research agency and Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques (INERIS), the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks.

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them. In addition, distrust is commonplace towards “laypersons”, and especially “eco-warriors”, whereas figures in the economic, political and technical spheres, who have high social status, are de facto legitimate “definers” of media discourse. These “longstanding” contacts also help them save time. The industry operator provides ready-to-use, prepared information with key terminology and figures. Local officials save journalists’ time because a single interview will be enough to address different topics and provide subject matter for several articles. Cuts in staff numbers, time pressure and the lack of room for development tend to encourage this limited search for sources, and lead to what François Heinderyck describes as “passive journalism” (2003, p. 69). Furthermore, the favourable position taken by Le Républicain Lorrain can be partly explained by the local development aspect that Valérie Croissant and Bénédicte Toullec refer to when the regional daily press writes about cultural events. Croissant and Toullec believe that the regional media’s aim is to showcase their region. This logic can be applied to the press treatment of the coal gas project, which helped promote “the actors that contribute to it and the region that hosts them” (Croissant and Toullec 2011, p. 9). This role, together with the more pragmatic factor of readership imperatives, encourages the regional daily to spotlight the “good news”—such as stories that mean Moselle will enjoy an economic revival—and information that consolidates peoples’ identification with the region. The term “firedamp” can even function as a term that unites people, with the potential to rally readers, elected officials and economic actors around a strong, regional momentum—even if it is just a fantasy. This “unifying rationale, to rally a population around shared identities, symbols and values […], and the construction of an image of the region” contributes to what Croissant and Toullec describe as “the practice of media consensus” (Croissant and Toullec 2011, pp. 9–10). This consensus-­ seeking policy, in the case of CBM, does not succeed so much in diminishing an opposition movement as in discrediting the “anti” side, who are perhaps unconsciously perceived as not just adversaries of an industrial project, but enemies of an entire region. Economic factors also play a part. In addition to the fact that EGL buys advertising space in Le Républicain Lorrain, the regional daily belongs to the EBRA group, owned by the Crédit Mutuel bank, which owns a 5% share in the gas exploration company. Since Crédit Mutuel acquired shares in EGL’s capital in 2016, many protests have been organised by opponents, but most of them were not reported on by the regional media.

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Conclusion: An Independent Press Is Essential for Healthy Public Debate “Democracy requires reasonably well-informed public opinions”, writes Patrick Charaudeau in “Une éthique du discours médiatique est-elle possible?” [Is ethical media discourse possible?] (2010, p. 15). However, in the controversy studied, elected representatives, institutions and the traditional press, who are supposed to encourage debate, instead imposed a single, erroneous perspective of the public issue. By choosing the same categories of key definers and disseminating the company’s social acceptability rhetoric without providing a critical view, the newspaper became a tool in the company’s communications strategy rather than a forum for verified information. The fact that newspapers depend both on economic and political factors (Champagne 2005) impedes the daily press in their role as facilitators of public debate. How can the conventional media defend their legitimacy in the media system? What added value can they aim to provide in comparison to new digital media? To sum up, the press is needed to ensure a healthy democracy, and democracy is necessary for a healthy press. Its financial dependence on and submission to local political interests erode information and democracy. This in turn leads to mistrust of the press, and it is no wonder that participatory, digital and deregulated media are on the rise, at the expense of the conventional media.

References Babou, I., & Le Marec, J. (2015). La dimension communicationnelle des controverses. Hermès, 73, 111–118. Baudrin, M., et  al. (2014). “On n’est pas des cow-boys”. Controverse sur l’exploitation des gaz de schiste et stratégie de l’industrie pétrolière. Revue d’anthropologie des connaissances, 8(2), 451–478. Bonijoly, D. et al. (2013). Synthèse sur les gaz de houille: exploitation, risques et impacts envionnementaux. INERIS/BRGM.  Retrieved June 15, 2019, from http:// www.brgm.fr/sites/default/files/brgm-ineris_rapport-gaz-houille_2013.pdf. Champagne, P. (2005). La double dépendance. Quelques remarques sur les rapports entre les champs politique, économique et journalistique. Hermès, 17–18, 215–229. Charaudeau P., (1983). Langage et Discours. Éléments de sémiolinguistique. Paris, Hachette-Université.

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Charaudeau, P. (2006). Discours journalistique et positionnements énonciatifs. Frontières et dérives. Semen, 22. Retrieved from http://journals.openedition. org/semen/2793. Charaudeau, P. (2010). Une éthique du discours médiatique est-elle possible?. Communication, 27/2. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4000/ communication.3066. Charaudeau, P. (2014). « La situation de communication comme fondatrice d’un genre : la controverse ». In Monte M. et Philippe G. (Eds.), Genres et textes. Déterminations, évolutions, confrontations (pp. 49–57), Presses universitaires de Lyon. URL : https://www.patrick-charaudeau.com/La-situation-decommunication,334.html. Chateauraynaud, F., & Debaz, J. (2011). Anatomie d’une mobilisation fulgurante. Retrieved June 15, 2019, from https://socioargu.hypotheses.org/3262. Croissant, V., & Toullec, B. (2011). « De la coopétition des territoires au consensus médiatique. L’exemple du traitement médiatique d’événementiels culturels par la presse régionale ». Études de communication, 2011/2 (n° 37), pp. 97–114. Ferey, S. (2016). « L’exploitation du gaz de charbon en Lorraine : un impact économique limité ? ». In Y. Gunzburger (dir.), Le projet d’exploitation du gaz de charbon en Lorraine et son intégration dans le territoire (pp.  71–86). CNRS Editions. Freund, A. (1991). Journalisme et mésinformation. Paris: La Pensée sauvage. Heinderyck, F. (2003). La Malinformation. Bruxelles: Labor. Krieg-Planque, A., & Oger, C. (2017). Éléments de langage. Publictionnaire. Dictionnaire encyclopédique et critique des publics. Retrieved June. 15, 2019, from http://publictionnaire.huma-num.fr/notice/elements-de-langage/. Lemieux, C. (2007). À quoi sert l’analyse des controverses ?. Mil neuf cent. Revue d’histoire intellectuelle, 1(25), 191–212. Libaert, T., & Allard-Huver, F. (2014). La communication sur les sujets sensibles au prisme des sciences de l’information et de la communication. Revue Internationale de Communication Sociale et Publique, 11, 81–100. Ringoot, R. (2014). Analyser le discours de presse. Paris: Armand Colin. Sacher, W. (2015). Bref résumé des pratiques des sociétés juniors dans l’industrie minière. Que vient chercher en France la société australienne Variscan Mines? Retrieved June 15, 2019, from http://alternatives-projetsminiers.org/wp-content/uploads/ docs/Resume_pratiques_%20societes-juniors_industrie-miniere_WS.pdf.

PART III

Before and After the Revolution: Media in the MENA Region

CHAPTER 9

The Transnationalisation of Information and Journalism: The Case of Arab Media Tourya Guaaybess

When the Arab world and news are mentioned today, what immediately comes to mind is the Arab Spring and the role that social media sites played in it. Between late 2010 and mid-2012, people’s revolts occurred in numerous countries in the region, at times supported by certain media organisations and often organised and shared on social media sites. These revolts led to the fall of leaders in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, as well as to a new constitution in Morocco. For so much change to happen in such a short period, the movement’s roots had to have been well established for some time. Such was the case for the news media, as Tourya Guaaybess explains in this chapter. Going back over the phenomena of the transnationalisation of information and media flows that started in the 1990s, she explains how what she calls a “sociological transition” of news-media professionals and users took place. The term is a nod to the “demographic transition” that all developing countries go through at some point in their history. The sociological transition was driven by the use of satellite networks operating from Europe and by foreign media

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produced in London, Rome and Cyprus and distributed around the Arab world. Television channels with international ambitions were also set up in Arab countries. The best known example is undoubtedly Al Jazeera, which was started in 1996 in Qatar and which symbolises the loss of Egypt’s leadership role to the Gulf countries in the 2000s. Beyond the changes that each country experienced, and which are detailed for Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt in the following chapters, it is also important to understand that the Arab “media revolution” occurred within a broader context of globalised information exchange, and within a regional context characterised by an Arab-speaking audience and dissemination strategies that transcended country borders. First publication: Guaaybess T., 2017. “La transnationalisation de l’information et du journalisme: Le cas de la région arabe”, in: La circulation des productions culturelles: Cinémas, informations et séries télévisées dans les mondes arabes et musulmans, Rabat, Istanbul: Centre Jacques-Berque, 2017, DOI: 10.4000/books.cjb.1211, http://books. openedition.org/cjb/1211 Translated by: Teri Jones-Villeneuve (Coup de Puce Expansion)

Relationships between the North and South with regard to information are a central theme in the field of international communication (Thussu 2006). It is a fundamental part of the sub-field of media and communication studies, which is dominated by English-language research, especially North American, which emerged in the 1950s before evolving in the 1960s and 1970s to include a more critical approach (Escobar 2011). The end of the Cold War and the use of new information technologies upended the existing world information order. Theoretical approaches, in a partial break from the paradigm of cultural imperialism comprised of “centres” and “peripherals”—that is, countries which dominated the field

T. Guaaybess (*) Centre de recherche sur les médiations (Crem), University of Lorraine, Metz, France e-mail: [email protected]

9  THE TRANSNATIONALISATION OF INFORMATION AND JOURNALISM…  International communication and information are defined based on a North/South configuration.

1998 Operation Desert Fox in Iraq

1991 Gulf War

181

2003 Iraq War

2011 Start of the “Arab revolutions”

2001 11 September attack in New York American offensive in Afghanistan

Fig. 9.1  Events in the MENA region

Prior to 1991

1991

•States hold sovereignty over their information territories.

•The American network CNN became the main global news channel in Iraq .

1998

•The new Qatari Al Jazeera news channel wins over viewers throughout the Arab world.

2001

2003

•The Al Jazeera network became the main global news channel from Kabul.

•Arabspeaking news channels are launched, including by non-Arab operators.

2003-2011

•Emergence and development of news blogs and platforms as well as online newspapers.

2011

•Start of the decline of Al Jazeera, viewed as too biased during the demonstrations. •Fragmentation of the Arab media space: increasing numbers of online media and post-revolutionary private channels.

Fig. 9.2  News media in the MENA region

of information and other countries which depended on them (Schiller 1978)—began to favour the concept of globalisation of information. Some call into question this “myth of globalisation” (Hafez 2007), in that this paradigm conceals neither a persisting global imbalance in terms of access to information nor a development-centric approach to understanding the role of media in poor countries (Guaaybess 2002). The shift in the so-called information order following the liberalisation of media industries in the Global South went hand in hand with changes in how Global North/South relationships were portrayed in this field. In reality, relationships remain unequal with regard to access to information resources and the way in which information is handled, but the North/ South dichotomy is now less obvious, namely due to the transnationalisation of media messages. This is most clear when looking at the specific case of information and journalism. To better understand the issue, we shall look at the example of Arab countries today. Like other areas of the world, the Arab region (Sinclair and Cunningham 1996) is a regional market within which information and cultural goods circulate. The

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transnationalisation of information and media flows from the 1990s was a significant turning point in the history of journalism. This occurred along with a “sociological transition” of media professionals and users at the same time that Arab countries were experiencing a more general demographic shift. The events that marked the regional information order also affected journalism more generally. We shall examine this phenomenon first. The changing face of journalism—its “demographic transition”—is a consequence of the liberal nature (in economic terms) of the Arab information market. The importance of internet as a forum for expression and the development of a new type of journalism emerged before the Arab Spring and is still being defined even today. Within this shifting post-­revolutionary context, political authorities and media professionals are redefining their relationship and media governance with varying degrees of conflict.

The Geopolitics of Information in the MENA Countries Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, relationships between the Global North and South in research and in the field were strongly marked by ideology (Mattelart 1992). Within this context, information exchanges were the subject of debate and controversy pitting the United States against the USSR, with which most of the “Third World” and Arab countries were aligned. The latter were defending the control over dissemination in their territories they hoped to maintain versus the free flow of information promoted by the United States as much as they were the rebalancing of information resources in a world effectively dominated by Western cultural productions and press agencies (Samarajiwa 1987; Frau-Meigs et  al. 2012). While Western countries certainly had the means to impose their information and worldview, authoritarian regimes—even when they had excellent media tools—continued to strictly control the information published by the printed press and broadcast by the media in their territories. The Arab media landscape changed in the 1990s, driven especially by networks of satellite channels operating from Europe and broadcasting in the Arab world.1 Offshore printed press, produced in London for distribution in the Arab world, had a similar impact. These private transnational media were held by Saudi businessmen, who ensured that the editorial content remained true to the Saudi monarchy’s official message, which  For more about this, see Boyd (1993), Alterman (1998), Sakr (2001), Rugh (2004), Guaaybess (2005), Hafez (2008), Kraidy and Khalil (2010). 1

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affected the choice of advertisers interested in the audience of transnational channels (Fakhreddine 2000). In the 2000s, the Arab media space began changing at a faster pace as satellite networks multiplied and televised programmes such as talk shows, debates and other TV shows triggered reactions from the most authoritarian regimes, which adapted by developing a variety of strategies to maintain a presence in this larger space. Outside of these commercial channels, attempts at political openness were made by some programmes with high audience numbers, although they were eventually cancelled. “Editor in chief” (ra’is tahrir), with famous Egyptian journalist Hamdy Qandil,2 and “Face to Face” (wajh li wajh) ran on the first Egyptian terrestrial channel in 1998, while the Tunisian opposition show “The Great Maghreb” (al-Maghrib el-kebir) was broadcast on the channel Al Mustakillah and filmed in London from 1999 to 2004. The comparison of contemporary audio-visual sectors in different Arab states shows that reforms had been undertaken in the 2000s (Guaaybess 2012). While often tentative, they do reflect visible expectations of television viewers as well as the dual necessity for each country to attract private investment and assert its presence in a highly competitive regional audio-­ visual landscape. The Events that Shaped the Positions of Transnational News Channels With regard to the power plays in the regional media space, the positions of the various national operators depend on their spot on the global political chessboard and on regional events (namely conflicts). In 2000, Egypt ceded its leadership role to the Persian Gulf states. The Persian Gulf countries are home to the major channels and regional networks which were based in Great Britain and Italy. These channels’ programmes are not developed around strictly national issues which, by nature, do not attract a large transnational audience. News networks and content that captures audiences mainly deal with issues and events that affect all Arab countries. After the Gulf War in 1991, which was marked by the domination of the American 2  The show “Editor in chief” ran on the first channel; in 2000, it was moved to the private Egyptian channel, Dream TV, due to censorship. It was extremely popular with audiences in both cases. Hamdy Quandil left the channel in 2004 for Dubai TV, an Emirati station, where his show was called “Qualam Rasas” (Pencil). He then worked for the independent Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm and later Al-Shoruk. Quandil provides the perfect example of what we shall discuss about the systemic nature of Arab media and “media confluence” (Guaaybess 2013).

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military and its media system (Arquembourg 1994), several conflicts helped boost the audience ratings of different transnational Arab media: the 1998 bombing of Iraq, code-named “Operation Desert Fox”, was covered by Al Jazeera in the region (Rugh 2004, p. 216); the Second Intifada in 2000, covered by the news network Abu Dhabi TV, pulled in high audience numbers3; the American offensive in Afghanistan in 2001 was covered by Al Jazeera, as was the Iraq War in 2003 before the network’s reputation was damaged with the Arab Spring events,4 just as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War did the same to the Egyptian and pan-Arab radio station Voice of the Arabs. The deceitful handling of the conflict by the Nasserist radio station, which had been extraordinarily popular in the region, sounded its death knell. In 2001, Al Jazeera was the dominant network at the time of the American offensive in Afghanistan following the 11 September attacks. Only one network correspondent, journalist Tayseer Allouni, was in Kabul during the American operation. The network enjoyed exclusive image rights—and later recordings of Osama Bin Laden—and its logo appeared on screens around the world, such as CNN in 1991. Following this event, the US government became worried about a growing “anti-Americanism” rising not from the Arab “streets” or “masses” in the terminology used by decision-makers but rather from “Arab public opinion” which needed to be addressed. The Iraq War began in 2003 at the same time that Arab-speaking media were being developed as part of a ‘soft power’ foreign policy (Clark and Christie 2012). The US Agency for Global Media, formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors, launched Alhurra (The free one) at the same time as Radio Sawa in 2004 to offset the negative sentiment about the United States in the Arab world and to “promote democracy”.5 3  Interview with Mohamed Dourrachad, Deputy Director, Abu Dhabi Television by TBS Journal, 2002. 4  The handling of the Arab demonstrations by the network was roundly criticised, particularly by specialists and the press (simply refer to almost any article discussing the channel after 2011). While its coverage of the Tahrir Square demonstrations on 25 January was applauded, its approach was questionable for Syria, Bahrain (for its silence with regard to this situation) and Libya. In terms of audience numbers, in 2013 the station boasted that it was the most watched of Arabic news channels, citing a survey by Ipsos and Sigma Conseil that the AFP later found to be fabricated. Online sites show a spectacular drop in its viewership, although the figures and sources given are too vague to be verified. See Azeddine Senegri, “AFP admits Al-Jazeera story mistake”, Asharq Al-Awsat, 3 June 2013, [online] URL: http:// www.aawsat.net/2013/06/article55304220 [accessed on 9 February 2015]. 5  BBG in the News, U.S. funded radio and television make significant gains in the Middle East despite anti-American sentiments, 29 April 2004, [online] URL: http://www. bbg.gov/press-release/u-s-funded-radio-and-television-make-significant-gains-in-middleeast-despite-anti-american-sentiments/ [accessed on 9 February 2015].

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Saudi Arabia, a political rival of Qatar, also wanted to counterbalance Al Jazeera and launched the Al Arabiya network (Fandy 2007; Fakhreddine 2005). While this network did prove rather popular, unlike the American channel (Snow 2010), it was unable to achieve the success of Al Jazeera at the time. Several countries, including France (as well as Germany, Great Britain, Russia, Iran, China and Turkey) left their traces on the region by launching their own transnational news networks for Arab-speaking audiences. The biased coverage of the Arab Spring by Al Jazeera, which was overly aligned with the Qatari government’s strategies, strongly affected both its prestige and audience figures. Its damaged reputation benefited new players in a news media space that was more fragmented in the unstable context that followed the Arab Spring. Alternative and independent news emerged through new journalists and new media (local television channels and radio stations, newspapers etc.) and was driven by more widespread internet access (Sakr 2013). The Arab blogosphere developed in the mid-­2000s and reflected the energy of Arab civil society and the presence of a young readership from the Middle East to North Africa (Najar 2012, 2013). Without calling them into question, it is possible to reconsider the role of government stakeholders in media governance, and more specifically in television (Institut Panos 2012). Additionally, the “public space” and “civil society” once again become legitimate subjects for reflection, after having been “blind spots” in research on Arab countries (Ben Néfissa 2011). In addition to perspectives on media governance, there is greater focus than ever on several categories of stakeholders and opinion leaders, including journalists.

The “Demographic Shift” of Journalism It is perhaps worth nothing that the aim of this chapter is not to examine “Arab journalism” or provide a global vision that would obscure the history and sociocultural realities of each country. Nor is the objective to establish an exhaustive panorama of journalists in these different national spaces. However, considering current dynamics and how they fit into a continuity and large space of Arab countries is relevant to understanding shifts in journalism in the Arab world. It is possible to determine the outlines of this journalism given that it is part of a transnational media system. The systemic approach used here is based on the initial observation that Arab-language media outlets and the industries that run them are

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connected by their dependence on the same Arab-speaking audience at the local, national, regional and international levels (Guaaybess 2005). Certain authors use the term “geolinguistic” to characterise this language connection to a region (Sinclair 2000). With regard to journalism, television, the national and transnational printed press (including offshore press based in Europe) and even the internet, this connection is also linked to globalisation and information and communication technologies (ICTs). It would be naive to believe that journalism evolves in a given Arab country without affecting that of others in the MENA region considering that it is integrated (even if only partially) into a media system that works in conjunction with industries, operators, audiences and educational institutions that are not restricted by United Nations borders. Journalists are also part of a “geolinguistic” space that allows their movement, exchange and competition in the Arab media system. For example, it is because of this interdependence of Arab-speaking media that in February 2008, backed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the information ministers of the Arab League came together to sign a charter (except for Lebanon, which voted against the measure, and Qatar, which abstained) on the “Principles for Regulating Satellite Broadcasting Transmission in the Arab World” (League of Arab States Council 2008). In the eyes of authoritarian regimes, the interest of this document, which restricts freedom of expression, resides mainly in the fact that it is imposed on all players in a borderless media territory. Another, diametrically opposite example is the development of multiple local media projects in recent years: YouTube channels, web radios, online news platforms and so on. The initiative “Welad El Balad Media Services”, founded in 2011 in Egypt, has set itself the mission of assisting the development of local and community media. The company’s aim is to allow anyone to express themselves, even in the most remote areas. This return to the local level and the clear desire for slow journalism—that is, a slower, more in-depth investigation of a topic—runs counter to the dominant trends of the globalisation of information and the massive use of ICTs, producing noisy, fleeting messages that mirror neither the reality in the field nor everyday events. In addition, and in reaction to the development of transnational media, these national and local media spaces are purposefully set up, reflecting the systemic nature of media and media confluence.

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The Domino Effect of Transnational Television and Radio Journalism The printed press and radio remain quite vigorous in Arab countries. Generally speaking, it is true that newspaper sales and advertising revenue have shown a tendency to stagnate and at times drop due to online news media.6 This is a global trend to which Arab countries have not been immune. But following the ousting of Ben Ali’s regime in Tunisia, some 187 newspapers received authorisation to publish and 12 radio stations were authorised to broadcast. The same phenomenon occurred in Iraq in 2003 (Lynch 2006, p. 216); this flood of newspapers following the crises shows the social resonance of this media, even if the credibility of the offer may be questionable. When asked about the recent evolutions of the printed press, a journalism expert in the Arab world made a bitter observation, “But which Arab press are we talking about? Journalists of major newspapers such as Al-Ahram or Al-Hayat are often prominent figures who write commentary but do little field work or only to meet with elites.”7 However, this assertion, although well-founded, should be qualified. Other news and written journalistic formats have made this type of “opinion journalism” obsolete for readers. For instance, take the example of the independent Egyptian national daily newspaper Al-Shorouk, launched in 2009 by the renowned publishing house Dar El-Shorouk, which had reached a daily print run of 100,000  in 2011  in a saturated environment. The newspaper’s website, created the same year, was ranked among the top three online newspaper sites and among the top 30 most-­ visited Egyptian websites.8 The newspaper had a young team that published unique and independent articles. Al-Shorouk closed in 2013, but this example as well as the dozens of new independent newspapers, many of which last only a short time, illustrate the changes affecting the field of journalism. What explains these changes? First, satellite channels initially imposed new professional practices and made new journalistic figures more visible. The causal effect goes this is direction: private and transnational channels upended journalistic 6  Among the top 40 most-visited websites in Egypt are the newspaper websites for Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Ahram, Al-Wafd and Al-Shorouk. See Dubai Press Club, Arab Media Outlook 2011–2015, Dubai, 2012. 7   Interview with Slimane Zeghidour, researcher and journalist (TV5Monde), September 2014. 8  Dubai Press Club, Ibid., p. 35.

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standards rather than the reverse; journalists rarely truly enjoy the power they appear to have (Charon and Mercier 2003). The emergence of less formal and more independent journalists was simply a manifestation of these upstream structural changes. The starting decline of one-directional communication from an authority to its audience and the emergence of more horizontal communication—based on media-public interaction—appeared at a budding stage with transnational satellite networks and finally came to certain national channels (public and private). The erosion of top-down hierarchies or moral, political and religious authorities is without a doubt one effect of the internet (Bunt 2000), but it was already brewing in commercial networks. Increasing numbers of live talk shows, which take calls from viewers (Kraidy 2010), or for a religious example, religious networks or shows that owe their success to “Muslim televangelists”, meet the expectations of an accessible, pragmatic Islam that is separate from canonical Islam (Haenni 2005; Galal 2014). News in the printed press has been affected by television and radio media in several ways. Firstly, there are structural ties between the two sectors: the owners of commercial channels are sometimes shareholders in the printed press and vice versa. Egyptian businessmen Ahmad Bahgat and Naguib Sawiris both have a stake in the newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm as well as in the private Egyptian channels OnTV and Dream TV (Guaaybess 2015). This also applies to the transnational press: the alliance between the Lebanese satellite network LBC and the Saudi transnational newspaper Al-Hayat is one example. Secondly, journalists may work in both areas or move from one to another. Private channels in the Gulf States, which are more lucrative, hold a certain appeal. Finally, the systemic nature of the media space requires newspapers to rethink their editorial lines to avoid appearing old fashioned compared to other newspapers as well as other news channels that offer debates and first-hand information. The leading national private channels, such as the Egyptian Dream TV, owe their success to star journalists; they are, to put it bluntly, commercial assets. This phenomenon can also be observed in other countries where political liberalism is combined with political control over information. The case of Russia—where television production was opened to private stakeholders in the 1990s, coinciding with the arrival of star hosts-­ journalists (Daucé 2013)—shows striking similarities to the Egyptian situation. The need to attract an audience for commercial or political reasons, and consequently to take into account the variety of audiences and

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political opinions, sets private channels apart from state channels. Meanwhile, this has helped a new type of journalist to become successful and well known; this phenomenon has also, paradoxically, highlighted the weaknesses of journalism, the printed press and traditional television and radio media as well as the need to promote training that can address these issues (Mellor 2007). Journalists acquire their professional skills through journalism schools and other media in Arab countries as well as abroad (e.g., BBC Arabic or Monte Carlo Doualiya). Their profiles vary depending on the journalistic culture of each Arab country and the historic relations these countries maintain with France, the United States and Great Britain. Arab-speaking journalists enjoy considerable employment potential because opportunities can be found in media throughout the entire Arab media space. Transnational news channels, for example, bring on journalists from a range of nationalities, and journalists from North Africa have recently been recruited to these networks. This ground-breaking phenomenon, which was perfectly embodied from 1996 by Al Jazeera, a paragon and pioneer in the field, reflects the integration of a regional journalistic system and the need to include a “pan-Arab” audience market as broadly as possible. Press, television and radio journalism, especially as practised by hundreds of satellite channels, requires employees who are qualified, young, specialised and sometimes multilingual. This shift towards a demand for greater quality and quantity, in areas where there are not enough professional opportunities to cater to the huge number of young graduates entering the labour market, has created enthusiasm for a professional industry in full expansion requiring varied skills. The arrival of a new generation of journalists is due more to the liberalisation of the television and radio sector than to the efforts agreed to by the relevant public authorities. This rising demand for high-quality professionals has helped rejuvenate the industry and, notably, bring more women into the field as a collateral effect of the market’s needs. This “demographic shift” within the profession reflects today’s changing Arab societies. It should be noted that the media is less a vector of change than the medium through which these changes can be seen. Television journalists appear on screen and are well versed in media communication techniques. Among the many journalists who enjoy a viewer following across the region are Ahmad Mansour, Khadija Benguenna, Leila Chaeib and Faisal Al-Qasim from Al Jazeera or Amr

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Adib and Mona El-Shazly from Orbit TV.  In the field, Arab news networks have their own special envoys and correspondents in the world’s capital cities. This is less true for journalists representing the public channels, who, when abroad, never stray very far from formal interviews in accordance with official protocol.

The Egyptian Case: Constraints and Selection Are Economic Considerations When looking closer at the situation of journalists, especially with regard to the Egyptian press, which is one of the most dynamic in the Arab world (Rugh 1987), it becomes clear that there are still constraints on freedom of the press following the fall of Mubarak, whether partisan (opposition political parties), public9 or private. Here, we will highlight the significant elements that attest to the evolution of journalism. In addition to these elements, there are legal and institutional aspects that reflect transformations in the field of journalism (Mendel 2013a; F.A. Hassan 2015).10 For more than a decade, several independent newspapers have emerged (Gunter and Dickinson 2013, p.  90) that reflect the media’s dynamic energy. However, the status of most journalists in Egypt remains 9  The Egyptian press industry was dominated by the three daily newspapers Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar and Al-Gomhouria. 10  Five years after the 25 January 2011 demonstration, Reporters Without Borders, among other NGOs, noted a “worrying” situation for journalists in Egypt. In addition to the censorship and repression that continue to weigh on the press, it should be noted that major reforms are being planned. Deliberations and debates on the legal status of the media and journalists have been under way since 2014 with a view to allowing the media greater independence with regard to the Egyptian government. Following the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the information minister post was eliminated. Additionally, the new constitution adopted by referendum in January 2014 sets out the creation of a supreme media council (Article 211), which would oversee a national press and media organisation (Article 212) and a national television, radio and digital media association (Article 213). Acts on television and radio media and the printed press, as well as how they are organised, then had to be revised to adapt them to the new constitution. The government wanted to draft legislation, thereby countering the country’s journalist syndicate, which felt it was the most legitimate body to draw up the text. In the end, the journalist syndicate formed a national ad hoc committee of 50 figures (12 from the press, 12 from television, radio and digital media, and 26 experts, lawyers, academics and media professionals) who drafted the bill. In January 2016, the Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend decided that the draft legislation was unconstitutional and reiterated the government’s desire to submit draft legislation written by the executive brand to parliament.

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precarious. In 2013, salaries ranged between E£400 and E£2000 per month (around €50–€100), whereas the minimum wage was about E£1200. Interns in companies are generally unpaid. To complete this gloomy picture, part-time contracts have become widespread, even as journalists work full-time hours (Berger 2013). Moreover, part-time contracts do not allow them to be members of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate (EJS), which has rather extreme admission rules.11 For certain categories, including photojournalists, the situation is even more dire. Although they work in the most dangerous areas, they are not insured in the event of an attack or injury in the field. To join the EJS, they must have a degree and be employed by a media company. Journalists for the press or television and radio media cannot be members of the EJS. Foreign journalists are frequently better paid but cannot be members of the EJS; if they want to work in Egypt, they must join the foreign press association, which issues permits. As a sign that things are beginning to change, an alternative informal association, the Independent Union for Egyptian Journalists, was founded by journalist Wael Tawfik in 2007. Contrary to its counterpart, it does not require journalists to have a full-­ time contract but instead show proof of articles published in the Egyptian press. It also accepts foreign journalists as associate members. Although still developing, this union has 600 members who are mainly Egyptian (Berger 2013). The press syndicate has 9000 members in the country, 7000 of whom are working. Some 6000 journalists or more are not members. According to the same source, between 650 and 700 journalists were licensed before and after the 25 January revolution, respectively, between 2011 and 2013, due to the economic context. Without falling into economism, it appears that current dynamics in journalism in Egypt are increasingly dependent on businessmen. Press journalism, both online (pure play companies) and print, continue to need the support of economic stakeholders. Dozens of newspapers and channels have emerged, but many have been unable to survive. The past few years have also been marked by the closing of several newspapers in English, the second language used by the Egyptian press.

11  Generally speaking, the association’s missions are to defend the freedom of expression and rights of journalists; however, in practice, being a member facilitates access to certain sources and accreditations. It also allows members to draw a public pension and be eligible for a monthly stipend of around E£800 (€93) and E£570 (€66), respectively, as of 2013.

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Hisham Kassem’s experience illustrates the path of an independent journalist from the 1990s to today. His career and human rights activism qualifies him as an opinion leader. In the late 1990s, he founded the Cairo Times, an English-language Egyptian weekly and the first newspaper to have circumvented censorship thanks to the internet. Because it was easier to get a licence abroad to then gain access to the Egyptian market as a foreign publication, the Cairo Times was imported from Cyprus. Foreign newspapers were equally subject to censorship, but the Cairo Times opted for a unique strategy: readers simply had to go to the online cairotimes. com to see censored articles published in a section called “The Forbidden File”. At the time, other independent newspapers appeared in several Arab countries (such as Morocco), launched by talented young entrepreneurs who had often studied in the United States, England or France, such as Kassem himself or Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, the founder of the Moroccan weeklies TelQuel and Nichane. It is no surprise that, in 2004 after the Cairo Times shut down, the aforementioned Hisham Kassem became one of the leaders of a new independent newspaper in Egypt, Al-Masry Al-Youm, as internet took off. In Tunisia, where the creation of an independent newspaper was unthinkable, the news platform nawaat.org was launched at the same time and proved exceedingly popular (Ben Henda 2011). In Cairo, Al-Masry Al-Youm, for which Kassem was the editor in chief, was set up as a print and online newspaper available in Arabic and English. At an editorial level, Kassem’s approach was clear: covered topics were mainly local and the journalists who were recruited were required to go into the field and not be “formatted” by the state-owned press. The newspaper was quick to tackle subjects that questioned those in power; this position helped it broaden its readership, such as during the legislative elections of 2005 when the 24 November edition of the paper was reprinted three days in a row after having exposed the fraudulent manoeuvring and violent actions of the ruling party in various polling stations. These facts were corroborated by the signature of 120 judges who bore witness to the events (El Amrani 2005). Today, the newspaper has a higher readership than the historic Al-Ahram. The newspaper’s owners are leading businessmen in Egypt, which is a likely explanation for Kassem’s lack of total control over its operations.12 With a view to escaping economic censorship, he decided in 2008 to leave the newspaper to create an online newspaper with a  Interview with the author, January 2011.

12

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subscription-­based business model where each shareholder would be limited to no more than a 10% stake in the company. In the unstable context of 2011, the launch of his newspaper Al-Gomhuria Al-Gadia (The New Republic) was postponed when several shareholders pulled out of the venture. Following in the wake of Al-Masry Al-Youm, several newspapers appeared in the 2000s: Al-Shorouk, Al-Bedaya, Al-Badeel, Al-Tahrir, Al-Siyasi Magazine and the like. Despite more available newspapers, readership remained stable (1.5 million readers in 2013), forcing many of the papers to close in 2013 due to financial hardship. One famous Egyptian journalist, Salah Eissa, remarked, “Social media, electronic media and talk shows represent big competition to print journalism”.13 Economic censorship weighed most heavily on the printed press. First, most newspapers depend on commercial printers and public distribution networks, whose prices are the most competitive. They must also have minimal capital holdings of five million pounds in the bank to start a newspaper. As a result, newspapers are often dependent on businessmen, who are mainly involved in other industries (Guaaybess 2012, 2015 2011). Journalist Ibrahim Eissa was sacked as editor in chief in 2010 from the (overly) independent newspaper Al-Dostor when the weekly was bought out by El-Sayyid el-Badawy, a businessman with close ties to the government. Economic censorship also occurs through advertisers, who are often dependent on three advertising agencies. The leftist daily Al-Badeel, which did not shy away from stories on corruption, went bankrupt in 2009 after a number of advertisers pulled their ads (Shams el-Din 2012). This press industry developed within extremely specific social contexts. In Egypt, the press was marked by demonstrations in 2005 and 2008 as well as the 2010 elections it covered. In Tunisia, it provided an outlet for a rising opposition as well as a link to the diaspora that participated in and added to the ongoing debates. In Morocco, it supported a desire for a political openness considered overly modest by business people. In Egypt, these businessman-backed newspapers did not always show clear-cut opposition to those in power, but they were well-placed to support the revolutions, in terms of both media and politics.

13  In H. Afify, “With poor economy and lack of political incentives, newspapers struggle to survive”, Egypt Independent, 21 February 2013.

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Journalists Are Transnational We have not defined journalism in Arab countries because, as in Europe and elsewhere, this complex term encompasses extremely diverse professions (Ruellan 2007) within a sector in which positions are unequal: they depend on their status (freelancer or employee), the media for which they work, their field of specialisation, whether they work at a desk or in the field, and so on. Not only have journalists had to take on a variety of roles within their positions but professional practices have evolved with the spread of digital media. One of the major challenges of digital journalism is finding a viable business model. The transnationalisation of journalism in the Arab world affects both the content itself (news is received everywhere in real time) and professional practices, which require a specific and universal expertise: being able to optimise the internet. For example, the success of news sites tends to depend on aggregators and referencing rules, which require a specialised knowledge of digital media. These innovative issues are driving a range of new considerations and have led to the creation of new educational programmes in Arab countries and a variety of transnational projects to improve such skills  (Mendel 2013b; Unesco 2013). The journalist avant-garde is mostly transnational and global. It has developed new skills, it is well-trained and on equal footing with “the information society”; furthermore, it benefits from and is subject to an array of national and foreign information sources. From wherever they hail, today’s journalists are transnational as much for their identities as they are for their professional practices. The new relationships being formed, on the one hand between Arab journalists and journalists in training and on the other hand their foreign counterparts are more flexible and less institutional; they reflect a completely new configuration whereby the stances of the various actors and political decision-makers are volatile and where the focus should be on a civil society that it is sometimes difficult to define.

References Alterman, J. B. (1998). New Media, New Politics? From Satellite Television to the Internet in the Arab World. Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Arquembourg, J. (1994). Les nouvelles logiques de l’information en temps de guerre: le modèle CNN. Études de communication, 15, 63–74. Ben Henda, M. (2011). Internet dans la révolution tunisienne. Hermès, 59, 159–160.

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Ben Néfissa, S. (2011). Révolution arabes: les angles morts de l’analyse politique des sociétés de la région. Confluences Méditerranée, 772, 75–90. Berger, M. (2013). A Revolutionary Role or a Remnant of the Past? The Future of the Egyptian Journalist Syndicate after the January 25th Revolution. Arab Media and Society, 18. Retrieved from https://www.arabmediasociety. com/a-revolutionary-role-or-a-remnant-of-the-past-the-future-of-the-egyptian-journalist-syndicate-after-the-january-25th-revolution/. Boyd, D. A. (1993). Broadcasting in the Arab World: A Survey of the Electronic Media in the Middle East. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Bunt, G. R. (2000). Virtually Islamic. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Charon, J.-M., & Mercier, A. (2003). Pour en finir avec le pouvoir des journalistes. Hermès, 35, 23–31. Clark, A.  M., & Christie, T.  B. (2012). A Clash of Cultures: Reaching Hostile Audiences Through International Broadcasting. Sage Open, 2(4), 1–11. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244012468282. Daucé, F. (2013). Être journaliste russe en 1993, des libertés sous contrainte. Conference Un Octobre oublié? La Russie en, 1993, 18–19. Retrieved from https://www.canal-u.tv/producteurs/fmsh/colloques_par_date/2013.0/ un_octobre_oublie_la_russie_en_1993_1993. El Amrani, I. (2005). Controlled Reform in Egypt: Neither Reformist Nor Controlled. Middle East Report online, 15 décembre 2005. Retrieved June 15, 2019, from http://www.merip.org/mero/mero121505. Escobar, A. (2011). Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Fakhreddine, J. (2000). Pan-Arab Satellite Television: Now the Survival Part by Research Manager. Transnational Broadcasting Studies, 5. Retrieved from http://tbsjournal.arabmediasociety.com/Archives/Fall00/Fakhreddine.htm. Fakhreddine, J. (2005). Mirror on the Wall: Who Is the Best Communicator of Them All – Al Jazeera or Al Hurra? Global Media Journal, 4/6. Retrieved from http://www.globalmediajournal.com/open-access/mirror-on-the-wall-whois-the-best-communicator-of-them-all—al-jazeera-or-al-hurra.php?aid=35108. Fandy, M. (2007). (Un)Civil War of Words: Media and Politics in the Arab World. Mamoun Fandy: Praeger. Frau-Meigs, D., et  al. (Eds.). (2012). From NWICO to WSIS. 30 Years of Communication Geopolitics: Actors and Flows, Structures and Divides. Intellect: Bristol. Galal, E. (Ed.). (2014). Arab TV-Audiences: Negotiating Religion and Identity. Frankfort: Peter Lang. Guaaybess, T. (2002). A New Order of Information in the Arab Broadcasting System. Transnational Broadcasting Studies, 9. Guaaybess, T. (2005). Télévisions arabes sur orbite, 1960–2004. Paris: CNRS Editions.

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Guaaybess, T. (2012). Les médias arabes, Confluences médiatiques et dynamiques sociales. Paris: CNRS éditions. Guaaybess, T. (2013). National Broadcasting and State Policy in Arab Countries. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Guaaybess, T. (2015). Broadcasting and Businessmen in Egypt, Revolution Is Business. In N.  Sakr, J.  Skovgaard-Petersen, & D.  Della Ratta (Eds.), Arab Media Moguls. London: IB Tauris. Gunter, B., & Dickinson, R. (Eds.). (2013). News Media in the Arab World: A Study of 10 Arab and Muslim Countries. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Haenni, P. (2005). L’islam de marché: l’autre révolution conservatrice. Paris: Le Seuil. Hafez, K. (2007). The Myth of Media Globalization. Oxford: Polity Press. Hafez, K. (Ed.). (2008). Arab Media: Power and Weakness. New York: Continuum. Hassan, F.  A. (2015). Media, Revolution and Politics in Egypt. The Story of an Uprising. London: IB Tauris. Institut Panos. (2012). La mission de service public audiovisuel dans la région Maghreb/Machrek. Paris: Rapport régional. Kraidy, M. (2010). Reality Television and Arab Politics. Contention in Public Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kraidy, M.  M., & Khalil, J.  F. (2010). Arab Television Industries. New  York: Palgrave Macmillan. League of Arab States Council. (2008). Arab Satellite Broadcasting Charter. Principles for Regulating Satellite Broadcasting Transmission in the Arab World. Retrieved June 15, 2019, from https://www.arabmediasociety.com/arableague-satellite-broadcasting-charter/. Lynch, M. (2006). Voices of the New Arab Public. New  York: Colombia University Press. Mattelart, A. (1992). La communication-monde. Histoire des idées et des stratégies. Paris: La Découverte. Mellor, N. (2007). Modern Arab Journalism. Edinburgh: University Press. Mendel, T. (2013a). Assessment of Media Development in Egypt: Based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators. Cairo: UNESCO. Mendel, T. (2013b). Handbook on International Standards and Media Law in the Arab World. Brussels and Halifax: Centre for Law and Democracy and the International Federation of Journalists. Najar, S. (Ed.). (2012). Les nouvelles sociabilités du net en méditerranée. Paris: Karthala. Najar, S. (Ed.). (2013). Le cyberactivisme au Maghreb et dans le monde arabe. Paris: Karthala. Ruellan, D. (2007). Le journalisme ou le professionnalisme du flou. Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble. Rugh, W. (1987). The Arab Press. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Rugh, W. (2004). Arab Mass Media. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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Sakr, N. (2013a). Transformations in Egyptian Journalism. London: IB Tauris. Sakr, N. (2013b). Satellite realms: Transnational television, globalization and the Middle East. London: IB Tauris. Samarajiwa, R. (1987). Le nouvel ordre de l’information. Rétrospective et prospective. Tiers-Monde, 28(111), 677–686. Schiller, H.  I. (1978). Decolonization of Information: Efforts toward a New International Order. Latin American Perspectives, 5(1), 35–48. Shams El-Din, M. (2012). Stuck Between State and Corporate Owners, Some Journalists Seek Another Way. Egypt Independent, October 3. Sinclair, J. (2000). Geolinguistic Region as Global Space. The Case of Latin America. In G.  Wang et  al. (Eds.), The New Communications Landscape (pp. 19–32). London: Routledge. Sinclair, J. E., & Cunningham, S. (Eds.). (1996). New Patterns in Global Television: Peripheral Vision. London and New York: Oxford University Press. Snow, N. (2010). Alhurra to Al Youm: The Maturation of U.S.  Television Broadcasting in the Middle East. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate. net/publication/265063357_Alhurra_to_Al_Youm_The_Maturation_of_US_ Television_Broadcasting_in_the_Middle_East. Thussu, D.  K. (2006). International Communication: Continuity and Change. London: Hodder Education. Unesco. (2013). Assessment of Media Development in Egypt Based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators. Cairo: Unesco. Retrieved from https://unesdoc. unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000220742.

CHAPTER 10

A Conditional Offer: The Strategies Employed in the Field of Power in Morocco to Control the Press Space Abdelfettah Benchenna and Dominique Marchetti

In this chapter Abdelfettah Benchenna and Dominique Marchetti consider the socio-historic transformations that have taken place in the methods employed by the field of power in Morocco to control the press. The authors concentrate primarily on the period from the 1990s through to today, using a series of semi-structured interviews with actors from the national media landscape. Nevertheless, they also investigate an initial phase in the story of media control in Morocco that starts from independence in 1956 through to the 1990s and involved direct political control over the news and its distribution methods. The period was typified by upstream control of publications, violent repression as aform of punishment and only a limited number of journalists being authorised to work. Practising journalism at the time was synonymous with political involvement, whether it be in the national press agency, public radio and television stations or in private newspapers known as partisan newspapers due

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to their strong links to the national movement for independence. Thereafter, there were two periods when the media landscape really opened up. First there was the creation of non-partisan printed press in the 1990s, then the development of online news starting in the 2000s. Critical political expression thus became accessible to the wider public in certain printed media or online. However, even then, the political field continued to exercise a form of control over the news. This control was first and foremost through economic pressure. In the 2000s several mechanisms were put in place to control the orientation of advertising investment, and the distribution channels used by media. Support was given to media conveying a positive image of those in power while financial sanctions were used and justified as necessary to prevent the “poor management” of companies. After the start of the Arab Spring, the 2010s saw a return to more direct control over the media through regulations. While Morocco in its 2011 constitution reaffirmed a formal legal framework promoting freedom of the press, a certain number of measures were taken to limit that freedom. Acquiring a press card is still subject to approval from the Communication Ministry. And the “red lines” that journalists must not cross (to enforce respect for the Monarchy, Islam and Institutions) limit not only what can be communicated but also what can be considered and debated. First publication: “Une offre sous conditions. Les logiques du champ du pouvoir marocain pour contrôler l’espace de la presse nationale”, in Kryzhanouski, Y., Marchetti, D., Ostromooukhova, B., Les modes de contrôle de la production culturelle sous différents régimes politiques, Paris, Éditions Eur’Orbem, coll. « Études et travaux », to be published in 2020. Translated by: Stephen Ward Butler (Coup de Puce Expansion)

A. Benchenna Laboratory of Information Sciences and Communication (LabSic), University of Paris 13, Villetaneuse, France e-mail: [email protected] D. Marchetti (*) European Centre of Sociology and Political Science, National Centre of Scientific Research, Paris, France e-mail: [email protected]

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All researchers working on the strategies used by those in power in Morocco to control the production and distribution of information by journalists face the same difficulties as their colleagues studying regimes categorised as “authoritarian” and/or “semi-authoritarian”. Literature on the subject related to Morocco is often from foreign sources, and usually involves analysing how “democratic” the Moroccan media sector has become (Naïmi 2016). This is the case whether the research takes the form of international non-governmental organisation (NGO) reports, semi-knowledgeable expert opinions produced in a just few weeks or “transitology” work. Some analysts use the descriptive idea of hybridity (Belghazi 2005; Chadwick 2013) as an alternative, because it allows a more complex investigation of the functioning of political systems in a country like Morocco. However, this literature proposes a relatively normative vision of how national media fields are controlled. On the one hand, the vision is often ethnocentric. It simultaneously presupposes a “Western” model, thus inevitably a “democratic” one, coupled with the “cultural” specificity of so-called authoritarian countries and/or Arab nations. These approaches nevertheless neglect the fact that this control can take very different forms depending on the national fields involved. This means the landscape is always the product of a power balance between various social strata at any given period of time. In order to analyse it accurately it is thus vital to break with this kind of “static view” of media fields, as being homogeneous and without any opposition (Chupin and Daucé 2016). On the other hand, these normative approaches to the issue often ignore the importance of the expressions and words used (particularly for characterising a political regime or the media) and the way they reflect what is at stake in the struggle and that it is therefore crucial to understand and contextualise them. However, this work should obviously be done without, for example, relativising repression, and without the researcher falling into discursive moral and political arguments. The aim of this chapter is to make a sociological analysis of how those in the Moroccan field of power have changed the methods used to control the press sector since the 1990s. The field survey was purposefully limited to the non-partisan, private, general and economic news press (paper and digital). This choice simultaneously excluded the specialised press (e.g. women’s and sports press) and more importantly the press of political parties. The study was built around documentary research and 30 or so interviews1 and is  This ongoing research is being done jointly with our colleague, Driss Ksikes. It has been financed as part of a project with Labex ICCA (Paris) and CESEM, the research centre of HEM (Rabat). The historical section of this chapter is a reworked and shortened version of a longer article: cf. Benchenna et al. 2017. In it there are also references to media history during this period. 1

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considered to be a representative sample of the various contemporary centres in the private Moroccan press sector (both print and digital). The interviews, conducted between 2015 and 2017, were primarily with major stakeholders in journalism in Morocco, namely with heads of the main media outlets for print and digital press as well as with journalists who had either worked with various influential media outlets or with those who had had a significant impact on the journalism field since the 1980s and 1990s. In other words, the study was of a carefully chosen sample. It demonstrates how a twofold transformation occurred to replace the direct and repressive methods of control employed in the post-­ independence period (1956) through to the early 1990s (1) (2). Firstly there was investment by non-partisan entrepreneurs in the media sector, developing their economic control of the press. In Morocco, as in other countries, economic instruments are a political way of influencing the organisation of the press space (Kryzhanouski 2017). Secondly, the context evolved towards a less visible use of the legal tools available to those in power (4). These dominant actors adapted to the changes that have taken place in the media since the early 1990s (internationalisation, digitization, etc.) in order to maintain their hold over the media, and minimise criticism from within Morocco and from international organisations, in particular from Human Rights Watch or Reporters Without Borders.

Direct Political Control Over the Political-­Journalistic Offer and Its Distribution Between independence and the beginning of the 1990s, those in power used political methods to directly control the information that was produced and the way in which it would be distributed. As regards what was produced, journalism was closely entangled sensu stricto with the authorised political world.2 Journalism was an integral part of the political field. Apart from a few titles that defined themselves as magazines and/or as cultural periodicals, the private capital invested came almost exclusively from the political world. The media sector was structured around the Monarchy and authorised political parties. According to the 1958 press code, authorisations were subject to a “simple declaration made at the 2  This concept of a closed media space was so visible within the Moroccan context that it was qualified by Mohamed Tozy (1989, p. 165) as being a “defused political field”. We often refer to the work of Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi, Myriam Catusse, Mohammed El Ayadi and Frédéric Vairel in our investigation of the way in which contemporary Moroccan political forces influence the media.

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public prosecutor’s department”. However, the real question was: “will they give you the authorisation, or won’t they? If you are considered to be clean then you get the receipt of registration and you can publish a newspaper. If you aren’t, you will never get the approval. It can take a year, two years, three years or even more and you had better understand in the meantime that you will not get permission and that they don’t want your newspaper!” explained a journalist who has created several newspapers. This press space was aligned on a continuum between two distinct poles. On one side, there was the official State press, which was embodied by the national news agency MAP (Maghreb Arabe Presse). It was created in 1959 and later included public radio and television stations. There were exceptions to this in the form of the newspapers of the French group Mas (Le Petit Marocain and La Vigie Marocaine). However, they focused primarily on miscellaneous news items and were later sold to the Maroc Soir group in 1971 after a Dahir was promulgated (decree from the King of Morocco) that allowed only Moroccan nationals to manage a newspaper. The Maroc Soir group represented (and still represents) this “official” press, which has been embodied since this period by the daily newspaper Le Matin. On the other extremity of the continuum, there was the authorised partisan press. It was connected with the “national movement” that had fought for independence and the newspapers were financed by parties that received subsidies from the State. There were no independent press companies, except perhaps for the party printing companies and journalists were systematically recruited into these political organisations. The crossover between journalism and politics can still be seen today in 2018, in the fact that the SNPM (Moroccan National Press Union) continues to be managed alternately by a journalist from a newspaper owned by Istiqlal (the independence party) and a journalist from a title owned by USFP (The Socialist Union of Popular Forces Party). This partisan press promoted political opinion which originated partly during the colonial period, and until the 1970s was mutatis mutandis organised in a very similar way to that of the French press. Journalism was above all else a question of politics. Newspapers consisted mainly of political commentary and editorials with little space allotted to other, more general news. This aspect of journalism in Morocco is still very prevalent at the current time. Being a journalist was above all else about making a political commitment. However, there were some rare spaces in which criticism was possible. They were more politically independent yet remained under official surveillance. After independence, challenges to authority did appear in various places and were often censored. Cultural and intellectual magazines or

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journals in Arabic and French thus played a non-negligible role in public debate: Lamalif (1966–1988), Souffles (1966–1971), Al Asas (1977–1995) and Kalima (1986–1989). Other non-partisan press ventures emerged but only lasted for short periods of time. They included the important economic newspaper Maroc Informations (1960–1966), the left-wing weekly Al Balagh Al Maghribi (1981–1984) and even satirical newspapers like Akhbar Souk (1975–1981) and Al Houdhoud (1981–1982). Mustafa Alaoui, a founding journalist at Al Ousboue (1965), was the exception that proved the rule. He succeeded in staying the course by changing the title of the paper registered under his name after every censorship ban. The “Culture” and “Society” sections of newspapers could also be spaces for relatively independent journalism. More so than now, the foreign press, particularly the French press and later, starting from the 1980s, the Arabic language press had a significant place in the newsstands, even though it was frequently censored. During this period, authorities controlled what could be published and often in a brutal way. They intervened mainly at the printing works and the penalties involved destroying copies of incriminated newspapers or handing down heavy prison sentences for journalists and publication directors. The supply of information was also controlled through a very political organisation of the press space. In addition to Driss Basri being simultaneously Minister of the Interior and of Information between 11 April 1985 and 31 January 1995 towards the end of the reign of Hassan II, there were official efforts to restrict the number of journalists holding press cards. The number of accredited journalists has remained stable since 2006 and there are currently only around 2000 in the country. The professional field was largely dominated by “civil servant” journalists (who still accounted for around 50% at the time of our investigation) and by the monopoly of one school, ISIC (Higher Institute for Information and Communication), over public training for journalism. When interviewed, those who had worked during this period clearly explained how this modus operandi was marked by a significant turnover of journalists with low incomes, and a lack of work contracts. People were paid almost completely under the table. Take my experience for example. I worked at O (the name of a daily newspaper) from ‘76 until ‘83. I wasn’t registered at the CNSS [Moroccan social security] and it wasn’t just me, none of my colleagues were. We didn’t even know it existed. For subsidies [available since the 2000s for newspapers] they require employees to have a regular salary, and a pay slip. Once you start talking about pay slips you are also talking about social security payments, paying taxes and the rest. (Former journalist at a partisan daily newspaper)

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Controlling the Extent of Distribution In addition to their control over political choices available and as a result over journalism, those in power in Morocco worked to socially restrict potential audiences for written press. This began in 1956 and continued for several decades thereafter. As an extension of colonialist policies, it involved ensuring the protection and perpetuation of certain social strata through educational policies in favour of the French-speaking population. That is why, despite a constant downward trend over recent decades, Moroccan illiteracy rates remain high: 32% in 2014 compared with 43% in 2004 and 87% in 1960. By comparison, they were 18.8% in Tunisia in 2014 (compared with 23.3% in 2004) and 15% in Algeria. Forty-five per cent of the Moroccan population aged over 25 does not have any degree of formal education. As a result, even in 2011/2012 reading (in whatever form: books, newspapers, etc.) only represented two minutes per person and per day for the population aged 15 and over. The total distribution for 36 daily Moroccan newspapers on sale3 was recorded by the OJD in Morocco (Office de Justification de la Diffusion or Distribution control office) as having dropped from 250,296 copies in 2009 to 175,760  in 2014. Reading the press is almost exclusive confined to those urban elements of society with the greatest economic and cultural capital. Several investigations have shown that most readers of the Moroccan national press are concentrated in the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra and the Greater Casablanca-Settat regions. In addition to social inequality, gender inequality is also very significant. It can therefore be stated that the dominant elements in power wanted to restrict potential audiences of the press. This press was not highly considered by Hassan II. He never granted a single interview to a national media outlet. A Twofold Controlled “Opening”: The Emergence of Private, Non-partisan Newspapers (Start of the 1990s) and News Websites (2000s) The tight political control over the press space relaxed during two specific periods (Ksikes 2014). First the relative economic and political liberalisation that took place at the beginning of the 1990s had an impact on the press space. Obviously, it was not specific to Morocco since it occurred in  All of the data in this part comes from this body, except when otherwise stated.

3

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many so-called authoritarian countries due to political and economic developments at a transnational level. Whether in Tunisia, Morocco or other French-speaking countries (Frère 2016), this radical change gradually occurred during the same period. Like many countries that are economically dependent on a few foreign nations, starting from the 1980s,4 Morocco had to respond to increasing international demands that primarily concerned human rights and the liberalisation of the economy. They gradually convinced those in power of the need (Bennani-Chraibi 1997) to develop an image of Morocco that showed how the country was moving towards “liberal modernity” and a “democratic transition”. The objective was to attract foreign investment and tourists and as part of this “freedom of the press” was one important aspect. The first relaxation of control over the press occurred at the beginning of the 1990s, when those in power in Morocco respectively authorised and accredited a new generation of non-partisan newspapers and journalists. These publications were mainly intended for those in business and included the weekly newspapers L’Économiste and Maroc Hebdo International that appeared in 1991. La Vie Éco was also bought during the same period by the French media entrepreneur Jean-Louis Servan-­ Schreiber, CEO of the group L’Expansion. The latter media outlet, which would be sold again in 1997, employed many of the personalities from the future, so-called independent press (compared with what is usually referred to in Morocco as the “partisan press”), a large number of whom had studied economics. It was at the end of the 1990s and the start of the 2000s, in particular with the creation of the weekly political magazines Le Journal, Assahifa and then TelQuel (1997, 2000 and 2001 respectively), that a form of journalism which called into question institutional politics and the monarchy actually appeared. During this period there was a form of “political liberalisation”, characterised by political “alternation” in the unexpected appointment of a left-wing prime minister (Abderrahman Youssoufi between 1998 and 2002), that combined with the “economic 4  Other factors that could be mentioned include the fall of the Soviet bloc of nations, and the Franco-African summit at La Baule, which was emblematic of the end of French diplomatic support for dictatorial regimes and required Morocco to maintain its “democratic shop-front”. The Gulf War also left its mark on Morocco due to the position of Hassan II in favour of foreign intervention that was seen as “an admission of weakness”. There was also the general strike of December 1990 organised by the CDT and the UGTM but also the publication of the book by Gilles Perrault Notre Ami le roi [Our friend the King], in 1990 which had a significant effect.

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liberalisation” previously mentioned. This so-called independent press filled a gap in the press space due to the partisan press having been discredited, and embodied a new form of political opposition press (Douai 2009, p. 8): “I made the choice of …, I mean the name, in other words ‘another newspaper’, meaning that there is another form of journalism. It is not State journalism, not party journalism, but rather a form of journalism open to the world, that is professional and independent”, explains Ali Anouzla, one of the founders of Al Jarida Al Oukhra [The Other Newspaper]. During the 2004–2008 period, subscriber circulation of daily newspapers almost tripled (116,358 copies in 2004 compared with 300,871 in 2008), and the number of different newspapers was multiplied by five. There was another important characteristic of this phase, namely a greater press audience. As can be seen in the development of Arabic language newspapers (in particular the popular press), the national French press gradually became what publishers call a “niche”. So, the daily newspaper Al Massae [The evening], then the daily Al Akhbar [The News], founded by Rachid Niny after he left Al Massae, were able to quickly acquire a considerable readership in the first two years after being created (114,458 copies in subscriber circulation in 2008 for the former and 60,000 in 2014 for the latter). The second radical change in freedom of the press is more contemporary and corresponds to the accelerated development of news websites. Considering the 2011 international context, with “uprisings” in several countries in which Arabic speakers are in the majority, the Moroccan power field tried to control the effects of the events on politics and journalism. This new period of relative liberalisation was of course characterised by the promulgation of a new constitution but also, and perhaps more importantly, by the rise of a conservative Islamic party the PJD (Party for Justice and Development), which came to power in 2011. As former journalist Aboubakr Jamaï puts it, “the opposition” is now, paradoxically, “the government” in Morocco.5 One of the dividing lines for both the press and politics was henceforth to be the political position in relation to this party that, at least in the ballot boxes, had become a powerful force. Finally, and more broadly, there was the gradual transformation of media consumption practices, due to the development of the Internet (the percentage of the population with access reached 56.8% in 2014), that led to an explosion in 5  Aboubakr Jamaï, “Au Maroc, le Rif défie le roi” [In Morocco, the Rif defies the King], Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2017, p. 9.

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digital media. The “20th February” movement and the uprisings in the Rif region in the north of Morocco in 2017–2018 have demonstrated the increased importance of online news distribution. However, it is important to keep in mind that this news is not primarily written but rather visual. It is often in the form of videos and drastically increases the audience reached, since most Moroccans check the news on their phones. We can do without paper as unfortunately here in Morocco the reader of information on the web was not a reader of newspapers to begin with. We used to have 300,000 readers for four different newspapers, five different newspapers, 300,000 a day for all newspapers. Now we have nearly 9 million, 8 million readers! (Experienced manager in the Moroccan press)

By way of example, according to an investigation carried out in 20156 on a sample of the literate national population aged over 15, 67% of participants indicated that they “read” the electronic press compared with 17% for paper press and 26% for both. The website Hespress, founded in 2007, had clocked up 1.5 million to 2 million readers per day by 2017. It was even listed in the Alexa.com rankings just behind Google and YouTube. The reach of Moroccan press is even broader since the country has historically been one of emigration. This means that the proportion of the diaspora in online news consumption is very high. Certain online news websites in Arabic, along with a few Arabic dailies, make up the other principal media space for critical political expression against those in power. At least for those interested in politics they have become, along with social networks, a new space for political debate. Several specialised sites were created during or in the months that followed the “20th February movement”. They were often founded by former journalists from the written press sector as was the case for Arabic language media outlets Lakome (Aboubakr Jamaï, previously co-founder of Journal and Ali Anouzla from Al Jarida Al Oukhra and Al Massae)‚ Goud (founded by several former journalists from Nichane, including Ahmed Najim) and Febrayer (Maria Moukrim from Al Ayam). These are now among the most consulted newspapers used by the dominant elements of society. Some of these sites are linked to this social movement and are not directly connected with political parties stricto sensu, which is why many journalists are accused of being “activists”. All these journalists have, however, been prosecuted. 6

 LMS-CSA for the FMEJ [Moroccan Federation of newspaper editors].

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Economic and Financial Control of the Sector From this period of direct political control until the start of the 2000s, the ways whereby the written press were trammelled often took less visible and more intense forms that affected the economy of the sector and even determined the way it was organised. Considering the recurrent economic difficulties of “press companies”, the issues of financing methods and their political consequences are central to this topic. However, some of these control methods are difficult to analyse explicitly as they are often hidden from view and may be based on mere suspicions, or even beliefs, on the part of certain professionals. It is thus often impossible to provide concrete evidence. As a result, this section reveals a few aspects of control that have been identified by reviewing documentation and in particular certain articles published in the press itself, and especially the interviews that we conducted. To highlight “the efforts to promote freedom of the press in Morocco”, the Ministry of Communication listed in a report in 2014, 488 national newspapers of which 15 were partisan, 171 independent regional newspapers and more than 500 were private news websites (national, regional or local).7 These figures cannot be challenged as they are difficult to verify. However, there are many newspapers that do not have an editorial board and are very fragile. As a result, financial sanctions, which represent one of the main methods of controlling newspapers, can have a very significant economic impact on the viability and lifespan of a newspaper. For example, confiscating and destroying copies of a specific number can have a decisive effect. Three weekly magazines (Le Journal in 2000, Telquel in 2007 and Nichane in 2009) and a daily newspaper (Akhbar Alyaoum in 2007) suffered this penalty because they crossed the “red lines” (by discussing Monarchy, Islam and territorial integrity) that we will discuss further on. Bearing in mind this set of strong limitations, our interviews revealed how, on the one hand, if publication managers wanted to see their newspaper perdure in Morocco, they would censor themselves and not cross the “red lines” established by those in power. And on the other 7  Ministry of Communications, 2014, Rapport annuel sur les efforts de promotion de la liberté de la presse au Maroc – 2014: cadre de référence et thèmes: liberté, pluralisme, indépendance, protection, femmes dans les médias. [Annual report on efforts to promote freedom of the press in Morocco—2014: reference framework and themes: freedom, pluralism, independence, protection and women in the media] URL: http://mincom.gov.ma/landing/demo/ template/wordpress/media/k2/attachments/CadreZetZthemes.pdf.

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hand, they showed how legal procedures (which most often end in significant fines) combined with subtler economic pressure have become the norm. Direct economic sanctions are sometimes applied to managers of press companies. The authorities take on this weak link in the press economy to finish off a newspaper. In fact, Moroccan publications are all the more precarious since they have developed in an economy where not paying social security contributions is often the norm, and where there is frequently a lack of health insurance and even work contracts for employees (this situation is not specific just to the press economy). For example, Média Trust and the Trimedia group, which respectively published Le Journal and Journal Hebdomadaire (Benslimane 2015), were officially convicted in 2010 for not paying their debts to the CNSS (Moroccan National Social Security), to the tax administration and to several banks. While editorial choices may also have contributed to the disappearance of the two publications, the consequences of “poor management” on the part of the two publishing companies were used as a pretext for closing down a reputable weekly magazine. Le Journal was seized in April 2000 following the publication of an interview with the head of the Polisario Front. A few months later, it was banned in a decree from the Socialist Prime Minister Abderrahman Youssoufi for having revealed the involvement of the left in the attempted murder of King Hassan II led by General Oufkir. Creating the News Offer With the emergence of news websites in 2010–2011 and increased criticism of political affairs, one major way of controlling the press economy was by creating new digital publications. As in Russia under Vladimir Putin (Daucé 2014), a new phenomenon involved the direct or indirect launch of media outlets by those in power, who had realised the issues that digital media provoked in the national and international newsscape. “In 2011, when they became aware that public opinion was fuelled by the Internet and was no longer linked to traditional media outlets that were being kept alive at a cost of millions of Dirhams (…) they made the decision to invest far more heavily. It wasn’t just about giving a bit of money to some guy who enjoyed playing around and creating a few articles”, said one director of a news website. The creation of digital media outlets partially replaced other forms of official

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journalistic production. For example, a Moroccan journalist who has been working since independence explains how “in the past Driss Basri [Minister of the Interior] would give cards to all the police in Rabat, as he considered them to be journalists”. This “yellow press”, as its critics called it, was not totally new but it developed significantly with the Internet. It revealed the fines and tickets given out by the police, and facts about citizens’ private lives, yet it was not prosecuted.8 It is not easy to identify with certainty the actual instigators and owners of the new media outlets, which leads to suspicions and doubts about their place within the Moroccan economic and political universe. In fact, journalists and media owners accuse each other of being simple “front men” for powerful politicians, businessmen and/or influential political figures. For example, the news website Le360.ma is systematically accused of being close to the private secretary of the King, Mounir elMajidi and/or Abdelatif Hamouchi,9 general director of the DGSN [Moroccan Police Service]. Other websites have been identified as being directly linked to the secret police. Therefore, the news website Le Desk reports that “websites like Barlamane.com, Telexpresse, Scoop, La Relève, Agora, MaarifPress and many others are part of the sad battalion of the digital yellow press”.10 In April 2016, the same media outlet conducted an investigation that showed how, in a relatively short period of time, Ahmed Charai, a former commercial manager at a communication agency, had created “a small media empire”.11 Yet, there were lingering doubts about possible help provided by the DGSN in the venture. Questions about the origin of capital and investors were also posed at the end of 2015 when Ilyas El Omari launched the media group Akhir Saâ (“Last hour”) that brought together six newspapers and created a modern printing works. It is important to remember that El Omari was the founder and then secretary general of the PAM (Authenticity and Modernity Party) as well as advisor and friend to the King.

8  See for example Ali Amar no. 176. “L’État lézardé par la vidéo humiliante de Zafzafi”, [The State stunned by the humiliating video of ZafZafi], Le Desk, 11 July 2017 at 04:11. URL: https://ledesk.ma/enclair/letat-lezarde-par-la-video-humiliante-de-zafzafi/. 9  Maghreb Confidentiel, no. 1150, 2 April 2015. 10  Ali Amar, art. cit. 11  URL: https://ledesk.ma/grandangle/la-dged-manipulee-par-ses-propres-relais-mediatiques/, put on line 16 April 2016, last consulted, 27 May 2018.

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Influencing How Media Is Distributed Control of the written press by the political authorities is not limited to just the creation of newspapers with a favourable editorial line. According to several sector professionals, it has also led to the desire to control the distribution networks of newspapers and to limit or even stop the distribution of those that they do not like. Distribution is a central element for all publishing companies that are not appreciated by the political authorities or by the competition. Aware of this fact, in 2008 Al Massae Media (publisher of the Arabic language daily Al Massae and the French language newspaper Le Soir) created a distribution company, Alwassit, just one year after the launch of Al Massae. If you don’t control the distribution of your newspaper, even if your product is interesting, if it is excellent, if you are not able to circulate it and to get it to the customer, to the reader, it is as if you have done nothing. So right from the start, we thought that we had to control our distribution, so we created an independent distribution company, just one year after launching the newspaper. (executive officer at the company)

According to the person interviewed, it was low sales that encouraged the company to create Alwassit. There were obstacles to sales. We were aware of it. There was sabotage. Sapress [one of the dominant press distribution companies in Morocco] had its ways of reducing sales. For example, to a newsstand that sold 100 copies, Sapress would give it fewer. It wouldn’t give any more. To the newsstand that sold fewer, Sapress would give more. This was done on purpose. It was premeditated. So, we said to ourselves, if we keep working with Sapress we are just going to tread water, we are not going to progress. So, we decided to ensure distribution ourselves. We even poached someone from Sapress. Sales started to increase to 80,000, then 90,000, 100,000 right up to 120,000 copies.

Yet obstacles do not necessarily come just from within the distribution network. They can also be due to competition between media outlets. They go and tell a newsstand to hide this newspaper. They tell them to put it underneath. They must not show it. Look, if they do not want your newspaper to be sold; it will not be sold. And there are a million ways to do it and you will not know a thing about it. Let me give you an example, go to a

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newsstand and say to the seller that you will give him 100 dhs [10 Dirhams (dhs) equivalent to around 1.10 Euros in 2018] per day on condition that he put this or that newspaper underneath. They [the competition] are going to put aside a budget for that. 100 dhs per newsstand and in a month you will suddenly see a big impact from which you will not be able to recover. And this was the kind of thing that was happening. And you have no idea where it comes from.

Simultaneously, advisers to the Royal Palace are supposed to have manipulated businesses to try and control the newspaper distribution networks. In 2009, according to the director of the weekly French language magazine TelQuel,12 an attempt to control two out of three distribution networks (Sochepress and Sapress) was apparently undertaken by Mounir El Majidi, the private secretary to the King.13 In addition to the anger of many editors, there were also questions about the motives for this manoeuvre. Was Majidi acting in his own name, as manager of the royal holding, Al Mada (formerly SNI, Société nationale d’investissement),14 or as a stakeholder in other media groups? Three shareholders currently have an equal stake in the capital of Sapress. They are Upline, a subsidiary of the Chaabi banking group, CIMR (The Moroccan Inter-professional Retirement Fund) and MAMDA (The Moroccan Agricultural Insurance Mutual). While the shareholding of many companies may appear transparent, it is still difficult to clearly identify the links between these economic stakeholders and possible influence of Sapress from the political authorities, at least in terms of capital investment. Advertising Under Political Control Advertising is a vital source of revenue for the press, and since the 2000s, it has been used by those in power as a means to control the non-partisan Moroccan press. National advertisers (State companies or private 12  Editorial by Ahmed R. Benchemsi, “Ce n’est pas une guerre, c’est un massacre” [It is not a war, it is a massacre], Telquel, no. 392, 3–9 October 2009, p. 4. 13  “La main de Majidi dans la diffusion de la presse” [The hand of Majidi in press distribution], Maghreb Confidentiel, 899, 29 October 2009. 14  According to Wikipedia, it is a Moroccan private investment fund “with a Pan-African strategy. Its shareholding is made up of several Moroccan companies and investment funds, and some foreign companies. Its main shareholder is Siger, the holding of the Moroccan royal family.” URL: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Mada.

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companies close to the political authorities) have been directly or indirectly ordered to boycott certain newspapers and to not advertise with them. Several managing directors at three weekly newspapers attributed their demise to this form of economic control, namely the Journal Hebdomadaire in January 2010, Al Jarida Al Oula in May 2010 and Nichane in October 2010. In terms of online press, certain journalist entrepreneurs have complained that their news websites are disqualified by advertisers: At Le Desk, almost every day we come up against advertisers who have disqualified us from their media plans because of openly stated political reasons. This then benefited sites that had made “trash-news” their raison d’etre. Their fear of entrusting us with their advertising is totally unjustified, all the more so since they are accommodating to these media outlets, with their populist vibes, and articles littered with untruths. (Ali Amar, manager of the website Le Desk,15 6 May 2017)

Others insist that there is covert intervention on the part of the political authorities and that the distribution of the advertising market is organised to benefit some directors of publications while excluding others: There are political calculations by those who trim their sails to get access to advertising. There are websites that enjoy a lot of advertising resources and who do not necessarily need them to begin with, such as Le360 for example. It is a site that does not need financing from advertising. A journalist starting at 360 begins with a salary of 12,000 dhs a month. But you can see how advertising has affected the editorial line of the website. In what way? There is an issue between the editorial line and advertising. For example, there are Ministers, public figures or businessmen who have several roles. They may be ministers and owners of a holding at the same time. This is the kind of situation that will affect an editorial line. There is a form of tacit agreement between these types of newspapers and these businessmen since they will write about them in a positive way. There are influential people who decide who will get the advertising and those who will not get any. (Journalist on a news website)

15  URL: https://ledesk.ma/enclair/pour-en-finir-avec-la-presse-dabrutissement-qui-gangrenenotre-pays/.

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Using State Aid to Control the Press Partly inspired by the French example, another lever used by authorities has involved establishing new, very selective, means of providing aid to newspapers. In 2004, King Mohammed VI invited the government to “promote the emergence of professional media companies”,16 which led to the creation of a bipartite commission for newspapers and to two 4-year contract-programmes (in 2005 with riders for prolonging the contracts in 2009 and 2013). The project was jointly signed by the FMEJ (Moroccan Federation for Newspaper Editors) and the supervising ministry and had the stated objective of encouraging “the promotion and modernisation of the newspaper industry” and “helping it to upgrade”. These two texts in particular led to subsidies being given to a series of newspaper publishing companies. A sum of 46.4 million Dirhams were shared between 40 newspapers compared with 54 in 2011 and 71 in 2012 with subsidies of 56 million Dirhams.17 Yet, the beneficiaries of this aid must meet certain strict criteria, which de facto reduces the number of applicants. They must have a number assigned by the bipartite commission and have regularised their situation with the tax office and have paid their social security contributions. They must comply with the minimum wage legislation and be transparent about their circulation figures. They must make their annual financial statement public and justify expenses. They must also have a required minimum number of employed journalists in the company. The contract programme stipulates that “a publication or newspaper company must employ at least one chief editor, 7 professional journalists, and 7 employees for daily newspapers. For weekly newspapers there must be one chief editor, 4 professional journalists and 5 employees.” These criteria and compliance with them have regularly been debated. In the current context of financial instability and lower sales, this financial aid from the State to non-partisan newspapers, and since 2015 to the online press, has become a major issue.

 Royal speech on 30 July 2004.  Document from the Ministry of Communication 2012.

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New Uses of Legal and Police Controls In addition to the control exerted through organisation of the press economy, Moroccan State institutions imposed a more restrictive legal system, as of 2000. For the online press, it began in the months that followed the “20th February movement” in 2011. The restrictive system can be seen in the repeated legal proceedings against website managers or in the legal and political reorganisation of the press sector following the revision of the “press code” in 2016. The works of Ahmed Hidass (2000, 2016) clearly highlight the historic differences between official texts and actual practices. Like other so-called semi-authoritarian countries, to use the expression of Marina Ottaway (2003), Morocco has an official legal framework that promotes “freedom of the press” and “freedom of expression”. In fact, in 1979 its representatives signed the United Nations “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. In the 2011 constitution, article 28 expressly provides for “freedom of the press” which “is guaranteed and cannot be limited by any form of prior censorship”.18 Using the Law and the Administrative System to Control Journalism One of the main ways the Moroccan State influences the work of journalists, as in any other State, is through the legal framework for the profession itself. Historically, the regulations covering the necessary conditions for entering and working in the profession have been an important means for controlling it. In Morocco, acquiring a press card involves an administrative procedure at the Ministry of Communication. This is not the case in France where it is decided upon by a bipartite trade union-employer commission. Having a card is not a de facto requirement but not having it can have significant consequences. The first are for the journalists themselves. 18  In contrast with foreign newspapers, the national press seems to have been spared such a penalty since 2009. According to the new legislation on press and publishing, in force since 10 August 2016, “administrative confiscation” only concerns any foreign press which does not comply with Moroccan regulations (articles 30 and 31). This penalty is also used when there is a question of “erotic or pornographic content, or content likely to be used with the objective of procuring either for prostitution or the sexual abuse of minors” (articles 73 and 74). The same is true for content that “incites to debauchery, to prostitution, to criminality or the consumption or dealing of narcotics, psychotropics, alcoholic drinks or tobacco” (articles 79 and 80).

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As Ahmed Hidass explained (2000, p.  213), “the press card does not allow a lot in terms of searching for information, but without this much vaunted card, a press correspondent has no standing in the eyes of the administration. Those without cards cannot film an event, carry out an investigation nor hold a microphone to strikers. They need administrative authorisation.” As several investigations have shown, one of the tactics used by authorities involves refusing or slowing down the issuing of the press card to journalists. However, accreditation is vital for media outlets that distribute video. Article 35 of the 88-13 Act on the press and publishing (2016) stipulates that electronic newspapers must have “an authorisation to film (…) valid for one year, renewable, and issued by the CCM [Moroccan cinematographic centre], for the purpose of producing audio-­ visual content to be used in the electronic press”. This control over the images broadcast on digital media, in particular online videos, has become the key issue for authorities, in a country where there are no round-the-­ clock TV news channels and where existing channels provide very institutional televised news programmes. The second effect of non-accreditation affects the employer. Article 11 of Act 89-13 (2016) on the status of professional journalists states that it “is forbidden for any press company, for a period of time longer than three months, to employ journalists whose press card, for the year under way, has not been issued or who have not made a request to this effect”. In practice this is not necessarily enforced but the threat of punishment exists. Establishing the Internal and External “Red Lines” The most restrictive legal instruments are mainly linked to national “red lines” which precisely establish what is possible,19 with the press space covering only what is authorised by the political authorities. One of the “skills” of journalists in Morocco involves knowing how to “play” with the official line if they want to continue living and working in the country. It is well summed-up by this journalist, who has created several newspapers during different periods of Moroccan history, when explaining how publications are financed. “Each time the same question gets asked, ‘how are you going to handle the Sahara issue? How are you going to handle 19  As Pierre Bourdieu explains (1981, p. 4) in the general political field, this “imposes a censoring effect by limiting the world of political discourse and, as a result, the world of what is politically conceivable”.

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the monarchy?’ So, people say to us, ‘we are going to help you, but we are going to wait until your newspaper has been launched.” As a result, there is significant self-censorship because journalists avoid risking possible heavy penalties such as imprisonment, a ban on practising journalism, heavy fines or even moving abroad. Based on documentary research on the Moroccan press, and a review of material co-authored by Abdelaziz Nouaydi (2010) about legal cases against journalists, and the interviews carried out as part of this investigation, it is possible to see how, since the 2000s, those in power have used legislation and legal precedence to control what is possible. One important development has been the latest version of the press and publishing code, which now explicitly includes electronic press and newspapers. According to one director of a digital publication the code has enshrined “legal control [over digital media outlets] so it is possible to attack them because previously there wasn’t a legal text, so there was no legal basis for it”. The “red lines” can be clearly identified in the “ethical charter” on the electronic website Le360: “All while defending great universal values, the editorial board of Le360 respects the values which underpin Moroccan society namely tolerant Islam, national unity, wealth in diversity, and the Monarchy as the binding force of the nation.”20 These reminders are found in several texts linked with the press. For instance, article 179 of the penal code (2010) provides for heavy fines and prison sentences for “defamation, insults or offence towards the person of the King or the heir to the throne or a violation of the respect due to the King” or “towards the private lives of members of the royal family”. Similarly, article 267-5 specifies that “whoever attacks the Islamic religion, the Monarchical regime or incites an attack against the territorial integrity of the Kingdom” could be sentenced to fines and imprisonment. Finally, Act 88-16 on the press and publishing sector provides for “suspension” (article 104), and “the confiscation of all copies of the periodical publication or the removal of journalistic content” as well as the blocking of “access” to an electronic newspaper (article 106). The first series of “red lines” is linked to the Monarchy as an institution and legal person, in other words this means the State. That is how “attack on the monarchical regime” along with “attack on public order” became the justification for cases against Abdelaziz Koukas, director of the Arabic language weekly, Al Oussbouia El Jadida in 2006. This occurred following  http://fr.le360.ma/qui-sommes-nous [checked 25 September 2017].

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the 2005 publication of an interview with Nadia Yassine, spokesperson for the Islamist movement Al Adl Wal Ihsane, in which she said she was in favour of a republican system in Morocco.21 Attacking the image of the King may also be prohibited, as occurred in 2009 with the banning of the French and Arabic language weekly magazines Telquel and Nichane. This came after the publication of a survey on Mohammed VI (resulting in an approval rating of 91%22), which was carried out jointly with the French daily newspaper Le Monde. The Minister of Communication at the time, Khalid Naciri, explained to AFP that “the Moroccan monarchy cannot be subject to debate, even through a survey”.23 On 1 August 2009, the staff at the printing works of Ideale in Casablanca were evacuated by the police and 50,000 copies of each newspaper were destroyed by order of the Minister of the Interior.24 This image was also considered to have been attacked when Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, manager of Telquel and Nichane, wrote a critical editorial about a speech of the King, that appeared in French and in Arabic under the title “Where are you taking me, brother?” (“Fayn ghadi bia khouya? “). He was charged in 2007 with “a lack of respect towards the person of the King”. Discussing the health of the Monarch can also be considered an attack on his image. As a result, Driss Chahtane, director of the weekly Al-Michaâl, was sentenced in 2009 to a one-year prison sentence, while two journalists at the publication received three-month sentences, because of articles discussing the poor health of the King during the month of Ramadan. The Royal family in general is also a central issue. For example, the edition of 26–27 September 2007 of the popular Arabic language daily Akhbar Al Yaoum was seized following the publication of a caricature representing the cousin of the King who had just married Anissa Lehmkuhl. The daily was accused of having “resorted to a tendentious use of the 21  It goes without saying that since each case is specific, it would be necessary to describe their origins and the stances provoked by them. In this section, however, the objective is to simply demonstrate a few general cases that show the tactics used by the Moroccan political authorities to control the media. 22  URL: http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2009/08/03/maroc-le-sondage-interdit_1225217_3212.html. 23  Hervé Rouach, “Sondage sur Mohamed VI: Paris critique l’interdiction de journaux au Maroc”, AFP (Agence France Presse) [Survey on Mohammed VI: Paris criticises the banning of newspapers in Morocco], 4 August 2009, 15:17. 24  Le Journal, N° 416, of 7–13 November 2009, p. 20.

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national flag (…) in contempt of the symbol of the Kingdom” and the “use of the star of David in the caricature leading to (…) questions about the insinuations of the authors and denoting flagrant anti-Semitic leanings”.25 Khalid Gueddar, the author of the caricature, and Taoufik Bouachrine, the publication director, were sentenced to a joint fine of 100,000 dhs.26 The State institutions that represent the Monarchy also represent de facto “another red line”. Article 84 of Act 88-16 on the press and publishing stipulates heavy fines for defamation or insults towards several institutions and their employees, namely: the courts, tribunals, the land, sea and air defence forces, the constituted or organised bodies or public administrations of Morocco, or towards one or more ministers due to their role or status, or towards civil servants, police or deputy officers responsible for enforcing public authority, any person responsible for a public service or holding a temporary or permanent public mandate, an assessor or towards a witness because of his/her deposition.

This special consideration for representatives of the State is all the stronger when it involves the security forces, both the military and the police or the judiciary. There have been several cases over the years that demonstrate this. For example, there is the case of Rachid Niny who was imprisoned for a year in 2011 for “misinformation” following articles on the DGST [National intelligence service]. The articles had been published in the widely distributed Arabic language daily newspaper Al Massae that he directed at the time. In June 2015, Hamid El Mahdaoui, director of the website Badil.info, a fervent critic of the political authorities, was also given a four-month suspended sentence and a 100,000 dhs fine. This followed a complaint for defamation by the director of the DGSN at the time. El Mahdaoui had described the involvement of law enforcement agents in a case of torture. Then, during the “Rif Uprisings” in 2017, he was initially sentenced to three months in prison for having incited people to protest on 20 July in Al Hoceima. However, in September of the same year the Court of Appeal in Al Hoceima quadrupled his initial sentence.27

 http://www.maghress.com/fr/marochebdo/123101.  Le Journal, N° 416, of 7–13 November 2009, p. 18. 27  https://rsf.org/fr/actualites/la-peine-du-journaliste-marocain-hamid-el-mahdaouialourdie-en-appel, page last consulted on 28 May 2018. 25 26

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As in other countries, particularly in Africa (Frère 2016, p. 185; Dris 2020 [reference in this book]), the terms “national security” or “public order” are often used to punish journalists’ work. In this vein, “supporting terrorism” as a criminal charge appeared on 28 May 2003 as part of the anti-terrorism Act adopted in the wake of the events that occurred in Casablanca on 16 May 2003. It was revived for the accusations made against Ali Anouza in 2013. The director of the Arabic language version of the Lakome news website was imprisoned for “material assistance”, “apology” and “inciting to carry out acts of terrorism”. The charge was based on the publication of a link on the news website to a propaganda video. The link led to a propaganda video by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which had appeared on the website of the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais. The media outlet (French and Arabic versions) was then closed and reappeared in 2014 under another name, Lakome 2, with more modest resources. The Ministries in general or those in official roles that embody the State are also highly protected by legal texts. In 2012 Taoufik Bouachrine revealed the “case” of bonuses that former Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar and the General Treasurer Noureddine Bensouda granted each other. In his research he used documents coming from informants at the Finance Ministry, and as a result an investigation was conscientiously carried out by the Justice Ministry. Since the journalist refused to reveal his sources, the investigators retraced his phone calls to two employees at the Finance ministry. They were then handed over to the judiciary for “disclosure of professional secrets” and lost their jobs. It is not just official representatives of the state but also certain businessmen who are responsible for cases being brought against journalists. These men are close to the King or his representatives and embody what is known in Morocco as the Makhzen.28 For example, on 22 June 2015, Ahmed Najim, director of the news website Goud.ma, was found guilty of “insult” and “defamation” against Mounir Majidi, a Moroccan businessman and private secretary to King Mohammed VI. Goud.ma had p ­ ublished a press review that included a summary of another article published in another newspaper, in which Majidi was accused of corruption in his business practices. Majidi thus filed a complaint with the authorities. The court ordered the news website and the director of the publication to pay heavy damages and interest of 500,000 Moroccan dhs (or nearly 50,000 Euros).  In Morocco, Makhzen refers to the State machine.

28

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In the same year, 2015, it was Taoufik Bouachrine, the director of the popular Arabic language daily Akhbar Al Youm, who was once again found guilty. He was sentenced to a two-month suspended sentence and 1.6 million Dirhams of damages to be paid to Ahmed Charai, the owner of a multimedia group, and to the American journalist Richard Miniter. They had filed two complaints against the editor of Akhbar Al Ayaoum for “defamation” and “false information”, following the publication of an editorial in which Bouachrine had accused Ahmed Charai and Richard Minter of working with the Moroccan secret services to write articles attacking the PJD-run government. The second series of “red lines” is connected to the first. It refers to Islam, the dominant religion of Morocco, which is embodied by the King as “defender of the faithful” and descendent of the prophet. It is also through Islam that the image of Morocco in the Muslim world is often at stake. The most symbolic case is the “Nichane affair” (Cohen 2011). In 2006, the weekly magazine was the only one published in the local Arabic dialect and produced a document entitled: “How Moroccans laugh at religion, sex and politics”. This document led to two journalists being given 3-year suspended sentences and a shared fine of 80,000 dhs (around 7220 Euros) by the magistrate’s court in Casablanca. The publication was banned for two months and later went out of business. The third series of “red lines” refers to territorial integrity, primarily defence of the “Moroccan Sahara”. Here too, it is linked to the previous “red lines”. Representatives of the monarchy attempted to strengthen their legitimacy by using the reconquest of the Sahara in 1975 (“the Green March” led by Hassan II) and positioning themselves as guarantors of national unity and territorial integrity. Among other things, it is this attack that was used as the basis for one of the strongest convictions against a journalist in Morocco. Ali Lmrabet was sentenced to a ten-year ban on practising journalism in 2005, following a complaint by Ahmed Kheir (spokesperson for the Association of Parents of Sahrawi victims of “repression” in the Tindouf camps in south-west Algeria). The complaint was based on declarations by the Moroccan weekly Al Moustaqil, according to which Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf (South-west Algeria) “don’t have any desire to return to Morocco”29 and that they would have “no difficulties” 29  http://www.lemonde.fr/actualite-medias/article/2005/06/23/l-nterdiction-d-exercerpendant-dix-ans-confirmee-pour-le-journaliste-marocain-ali-lamrabet_665689_3236. html#jpti7fcfaTtyOrK5.99.

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in doing so if they so desired. Moroccan authorities generally state the opposite, claiming that Sahrawi refugees are “confined” by the Polisario Front, the organisation that fights for the “independence” of the “Western Sahara”. Similarly, in 2000, the French language news magazine Le Journal, which was printed in France at the time to ensure the quality of the printing, was seized at the airport of Marrakesh for having published an interview with the head of the Polisario Front, Mohammed Abdelaziz. The copies of that edition were destroyed immediately. “They [the gendarmes] went to the end of the runway and burnt everything”, explained a manager from the magazine. Finally, the “red lines” are also linked, as in many so-called authoritarian countries, to respect for foreign institutions. Act 88-16 on press and publishing actually stipulates heavy fines for media that attack “the person and the dignity” “of heads of State, of heads of government, and foreign ministers from foreign countries” (article 81) and “foreign diplomatic or consular agents accredited or commissioned to His Majesty the King” (article 82). While cases of this type are rare, there was the conviction in 2009 of three Arabic language daily newspapers (Al Jarida Al Aoula, Al Ahdath Al Maghribia and Al Massae), which had to pay three million dirhams of damages and interest to Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi for an “attack on the dignity of a head of state”. Using Criminal Law Criminal cases seem to be another way to put pressure on journalists. Legal texts are not just used in complaints against practising journalists for their work but it would appear that more recently and more frequently they are being used to move against journalists in their private lives. Among the more recent and very revealing examples is the case of Hicham Mansouri. He was a project manager at the AMJI (Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalists) and was convicted in 2015 to ten months in prison for “adultery” and is now living in Europe to avoid serving his sentence. That same year, the caricaturist Khalid Gueddar was sentenced to three months in prison for “being drunk in a public place” and “attacking a constituted body”, meaning police officers. However once again it was Taoufik Bouachrine, the manager of the daily Akhbar El Yaoum and the website AlYaoum24 who found himself investigated twice for his private life. First, he was prosecuted and put on trial for tax fraud for 200,000 euros concerning the purchase of a house in Rabat in 2007, but the case

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was dismissed. Then on 23 February 2018, he was arrested and jailed for “human trafficking”, “abuse of power for sexual gains” and “rape and attempted rape”. “The accusations are based on videos seized at the journalist’s office when he was arrested and were not made public. Mr Bouachrine categorically refutes them and says he is the victim of a ‘political trial’”, wrote the author of an AFP dispatch on 25 April 2018.30 There are also less visible forms of control over the work of journalists. Some were mentioned in the interviews conducted and include checks by the intelligence services and police. So, what have we had in the form of pressure today… So, we had the traditional visit from the neighbourhood General Intelligence service (RG). I think that is traditionally part of their job. Otherwise, there were a few nuisances nevertheless. We tried to have a nice environment, to provide comfort at work, and yet we had a work inspector come 12 times. But I said to myself that it could be for bakchich [a bribe] but as he came back ten times, I realised it wasn’t for bakchich. He said, “I have been asked to come so I come. I don’t want money. I want nothing at all. I just have to write something down.” So, he came, it was… once it was the extinguisher, once it was that “you haven’t displayed the workers’ rights of your staff”. Everybody who works for us is declared, the foreigners have their contracts, but he said to me, ‘I have to find a failing because I need to have that, in a preventive way and they need to know where the weaknesses are’. Goutlou [I said to him] for the moment there aren’t any but soon. (manager of a news website)

The same is true for control involving the use of technology, such as pirating or attempting to pirate news websites, as well as interrupting or slowing down network connections or the telephone network. Additionally, there are unannounced surveillance checks on editorial offices and physical violence against journalists during demonstrations. The powerful control over the supply of information in Morocco has led to resistance in different forms. Across the country, this resistance takes the form of a few newspapers and digital media. The latter do not have much in the way of financial means but they express a critical point of view towards how those in power in Morocco work. However, regular 30  “Prison ferme pour une Marocaine niant avoir porté plainte pour harcèlement sexuel” [Prison time for Moroccan woman who denies having laid a complaint for sexual harassment], AFP, 24 April 2018, 17:19 GMT.

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prosecution or the threat of court cases, in particular over crossing the “red lines”, induces significant self-censorship. Social networks operate as a substitute for traditional media. They provide a space to publish commentaries and broadcast political events with videos during social or political protests. Since social networks like Facebook are not particularly targeted by Moroccan authorities, this explains the enormous difference between the vitality of political criticism on social networks and that found in national newspapers and electronic media. Foreign national (in particular France and Spain) but also transnational (in particular in the Arabic language such as the Al Jazeera channel) media spaces also continue to play this role, even though their correspondents are also subject to strong self-censorship.

References Belghazi, T. (2005). Identity Politics in Morocco. In E. Mackward, M. L. Lilleht, & A. Saber (dirs.), North-south Linkages and Connections in Continental and Diaspora African Literatures (pp. 459–473). Trenton: Africa World. Benchenna, A., Ksikes, D., & Marchetti, D. (2017). La presse au Maroc: une économie très politique. Le cas des supports papier et électronique depuis le début des années 1990. Questions de communication, 32, 239–259. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4000/questionsdecommunication.11527. Bennani-Chraïbi, M. (1997). Le Maroc à l’épreuve du temps mondial. In Z. Laidi (Ed.), Le Temps mondial (pp. 105–141). Bruxelles: Éd. Complexe. Benslimane, M. (2015). Presse “indépendante” et pouvoir. Le Journal (1997–2010) promoteur du trône au Maroc. Une psycho-socio-anthropologie historique du journalisme politique, PhD diss. in political science, University of Grenoble-Alpes. Retrieved from https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01459214/document. Bourdieu, P. (1981). La représentation politique. Éléments pour une théorie du champ politique. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 36–37, 3–24. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3406/arss.1981.2105. Chadwick, A. (2013). The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power. New  York: Oxford University Press. Chupin, I., & Daucé, F. (2016). Par-delà la contrainte politique ? Réseaux, 199, 131–154. Cohen, A. (2011). La langue du silence dans le Maroc urbain. Revue de l’histoire des religions, 2, 245–263. Daucé, F. (2014). Le journalisme en ligne en Russie: Les jeux ordinaires de la contrainte politique. Études du CERI, 203. Douai, A. (2009). In Democracy’s Shadow: The ‘New’ Independent Press and the Limits of Media Reform in Morocco. Westminster Papers in Communication &

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Culture, 6(1), 7–26. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/ Aziz_Douai/publication/242178459_In_Democracy’s_Shadow_The_’New’_ Independent_Press_and_the_Limits_of_Media_Reform_in_Morocco/ links/5518309d0cf29ab36bc4ab5f.pdf. Dris, C. (2020). The Algerian Press: Deregulation Under Pressure. The New Forms of Control or the “Invisible Hand” of the State. In L. Ballarini (Ed.), The Independence of the News Media: Francophone Research on Media, Economics and Politics (pp. 231–260). Palgrave Macmillan. Frère, M.-S. (2016). Journalismes d’Afrique. Bruxelles: De Boeck. Hidass, A. (2000). Le statut de journaliste professionnel au Maroc. Les Cahiers du journalisme, 8, 204–226. Hidass, A. (2016). Quand “l’exception” confirme la règle. L’encadrement juridique de la liberté de la presse écrite au Maroc. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 29–44. Kryzhanouski, Y. (2017). Gouverner la dissidence. Sociologie de la censure sous régime autoritaire: le cas du rock contestataire biélorusse. Critique internationale, 76, 123–145. Ksikes, D. (2014). Chronique des liens contrastés entre médias et pouvoirs au Maroc. Economia.ma, 21, 25–31. Retrieved from http://economia.ma/content/chronique-de-liens-contrast%C3%A9s-entre-m%C3%A9dias-et-pouvoirsau-maroc. Naïmi, M. (2016). Liberté de presse écrite au Maroc: l’évolution au regard de l’évaluation. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 45–60. Nouaydi, A. (2010). Guide à l’intention des Journalistes et des Avocats. Rabat: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Ottaway, M. (2003). Democracy Challenged. The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Tozy, M. (1989). « Représentation-intercession, les enjeux du pouvoir politique dans les champs politiques désamorcés ». Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord, XXVIII, 153–168. Editions du CNRS.  Retrieved from https://aan.mmsh. univ-aix.fr/Pdf/AAN-1989-28_17.pdf.

CHAPTER 11

The Algerian Press: Deregulation Under Pressure—The New Forms of Control or the “Invisible Hand” of the State Cherif Dris

Unlike Morocco, studied in the previous chapter, where a private press (even though it was linked to the regime in power) continued to be published after independence in a multi-party system, the opening of the media market came much later in Algeria. At independence in 1962, the one-party system was established until the new constitution of 1989, and the printed press was owned by the State until the 1990 Information Code was promulgated. It was only after the promulgation of this Act that private press companies could be created. Tens of newspapers were then founded, owned by entrepreneurs or journalists’ cooperatives, and competed with those newspapers that were still owned by the State. In this chapter, Cherif Dris studies the paradoxical liberalisation of the Algerian press market, based on the systemic approach of Daniel C.  Hallin and Paolo Mancini, which links four variables that prevented the media field from being isolated from other social fields, particularly political and economic.The first variable is that of the market, which opened up from 1990 (and from 2002 for

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online publications) while encountering similar obstacles to Western media markets. Despite the increase in the number of titles, overall circulation declined, and the advertising market shifted towards private television channels. The second variable, that of the alignment of the press with the political field, is more difficult to measure: the private media were not on the whole “partisan” in the sense that they could be considered as the official organ of a political party. But the different titles still reflected the main political trends at the time. Third, the role of the state was ambiguous. While the constitution (the last having been adopted in 2016) guarantees freedom of the press, a number of provisions circumscribe it on matters of defence, national sovereignty or foreign policy. The State also remains a direct actor in the media field, through the media it owns, and through its institutional-advertising investment choices. Finally, the question of the professionalisation of journalists has not been resolved—it was even curbed by the security crisis of the 1990s—and the profession has been slowly organising itself since the 2000s. First publication: Dris C., 2017. “La presse algérienne: une dérégulation sous contraintes”, Questions de communication, 32, 2017, pp.  261–286, URL: http://journals.openedition.org/questionsdecommunication/11534; DOI: 10.4000/questionsdecommunication.11534 Translated by: Ian Margo (Coup de Puce Expansion)

It is a difficult task to question the position, status and future of printed and electronic press in Algeria because the media system is constantly changing (Dris 2014).1 Its specificity is that, in comparison 1  This text is partly the result of the workshop on Private press economies in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. Cases of printed and electronic press organised and financed by Labex ICCA and the IRMC in Tunis on 15 and 16 October 2016. The author would like to thank Dominique Marchetti and Abdelfettah Benchena for their precious advice and comments during this work. He would also like to thank the anonymous readers of the journal as well as those who helped him in any way to complete this work.

C. Dris (*) École nationale supérieure de journalisme et des sciences de l’information, Ben Aknoun, Algeria

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to its neighbours, private television channels emerged relatively late, as of 2011, and intensified the economic pressure on the printed press. These new channels are becoming more and more significant, on the one hand, as suppliers and broadcasters of information and, on the other hand, because they are claiming an increased share of the advertising market. While the existence of the printed press in Algeria predates that of the electronic press, the former has also had to overcome many different kinds of constraints for several decades: lower print runs, lower advertising revenues and persistent diffuse political pressure. The emergence of the electronic press has only worsened its situation. During the first decade of the second millennium, during which Internet developed in Algeria, a significantly high proportion of the printed press was digitised and online newspapers began to emerge, becoming “one of the main sources of information and providing forums for political expression and discussion according to one’s predilection” (Merah 2016, p.  164). About ten electronic newspapers, pure players—such as TSA, Algérie patriotique, Algérie 1, Impact 24, Sabqpresse or Maghreb Emergent—have now staked out an important share of the production of general information. However, blaming the mishaps of the printed press on the electronic press would be overly simplistic, since it is true that, on the one hand, a large proportion of Algerian electronic dailies are for the moment, the extension of printed media and, on the other hand, both media suffer the same constraints.

Analytical Approach and Research Strategy Some work has of course been done on the printed press in Algeria (Gafaïti 1999; Brahimi 1989; Mostefaoui 2013; Dris 2012, 2014; Djaafer 2009), but there are very few works on the electronic press (Kraemer 2003; Ardjoun 2015; Merah 2016; Taiebi-Moussaoui 2016), unlike in France where this field is in full expansion, particularly in information and communication sciences.2 Moreover, the approaches adopted tend to focus mainly on the impact of the New Information 2  For studies on the electronic press in France, see for example: Jean-Marie Charon (2010); Nicolas Pélissier (2003); Franck Rebillard (2002, 2007); Éric Dagiral and Sylvain Parasie (2010); Nikos Smyrnaios (2009).

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and Communication Technologies (NICTs) on press companies (Ardjoun 2015) and on journalistic practice and not on the asymmetry of the respective trajectories of the two models. In other research, the authors have often limited themselves to writing an overview of this electronic press (Giacobino 2015), without focusing on the multiform environment in which these two types of media are evolving and to which they are attempting to adapt. Our approach was inspired by the systemic approach proposed by Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004, pp. 21–22), because not only does their work not specifically isolate the media space from its relationships with other realms (particularly political and economic), but because it also enables a comparison to be made with other national spaces. This is why the analysis will focus on the following four variables: the press market in Algeria, the alignment of the press with the political sphere, the role of the State as well as the nature of its intervention in the media and finally the professionalisation of journalists. It is on the basis of these criteria that Hallin and Mancini have identified three media models, which would reflect three national socio-historical and political realities: the “Mediterranean” or “polarized pluralist” model, the “North European” or “democratic corporatist” model and finally the “North Atlantic” or “liberal” model. Each model would have its own characteristics (Hallin and Mancini 2004, pp. 89–251). While the Algerian media system cannot fit into any of these three models—the two authors are obviously aware of the limits of these typologies—it is particularly useful to mobilise these variables in order to understand this asymmetry between the two forms of the press, and by extension the way the Algerian media system works. These must be considered together because we cannot analyse the press market in Algeria without mentioning the central role of the State. Similarly, the political parallelism of the press depends de facto on the degree of professionalisation of journalists or again the role of the state. This survey is based first of all on the consultation of the legal texts defining the legal status of these two types of press (the 1990 information code and the 2012 Organic Act on information). We then relied on quantitative data (print runs, audiences and advertising market, etc.) provided by organisations working on these issues. Finally, we conducted interviews with stakeholders in the printed and digital press. The analysis of this market, which we might refer to as “hybrid” (Dris 2014), will be divided into four sections corresponding to the variables proposed by Daniel C.  Hallin and Paolo Mancini: the first explains the

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differences between the economic logic underlying the printed press and electronic media markets; the second discusses the new forms of State intervention; the third explains the parallelism between the journalistic and political fields, which is nevertheless not partisan; the last one discusses the low degree of professionalisation of journalists.

The Transformations of the Printed and Electronic Press Markets in a Context of Political and Economic “Liberalisation” The Printed Press Market: From State Monopoly to “Opening” to the Private Sector The development of the written press cannot be considered separately from the economic system set up since Algeria’s independence in 1962. Before the 1990 media opening, it would have been incongruous to mention the existence of a printed press market in Algeria. In an economy governed by the socialist model, the printed press was the property of the State. As a sole shareholder and through its various public companies, it controlled the manufacturing process of this cultural product, both upstream, with the purchase of paper and printing, and downstream, by handling its distribution. The commercial and industrial printing and publishing entities, such as the Agence nationale d’édition et de publicité (ANEP) and the various printing establishments enforced this control. As explained by Brahim Brahimi (1989, p. 32), the monopolistic nature of this printed press was only the reflection of a socialist orientation of the economy, which imposed the nationalisation of the means of production3 but also the assigning of press management to civil servants falling under the Ministry of Information.4

3  Algeria is not the only country that has nationalised the means of information production. Tunisia has also experimented with this scheme. In this respect, see Larbi Chouikha (1995). 4  During the period of the single party, the ministry in charge of the media was called the Ministry of Information. When Hamrouche was appointed head of the Algerian government in 1989, he abolished this ministry and replaced it with the Higher Council for Information. Currently, the structure in charge of media and communication is called the Ministry of Communication. Moreover, “communication” was combined with “culture” in the 1990s during the economic and financial crisis.

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The first characteristics of this market are therefore its very recent “liberalisation”. Indeed, it was only with the introduction of multi-partyism in the late 1980s and early 1990s that the state’s grip on this sector began to loosen. This was followed by massive liberalisation of the printed press sector, paving the way for private ownership of newspapers. The 1990 Information Code was the first pluralist information Act and was promulgated in a very specific political and economic context. It followed the adoption by referendum, on 23 February 1989, of the new multi-party constitution. This new legal framework allowed the creation of private printed media companies. Thus, tens of private newspapers were created, encouraged by the incentives granted by the reformist government of Mouloud Hamrouche (September 1989–June 1991). The latter granted journalists affiliated to public bodies two years of wages to encourage them to embark on a “new intellectual adventure”.5 The Algerian state, which was facing a serious economic crisis, was forced to abandon its monopoly on the media (Cheurfi 2010, p. 212). However, the question was whether the journalists wanted this opening. Omar Belhouchet, editor of the daily El Watan, explains that: Abdelhamid Mehri and Mouloud Hamrouche originally wanted to make El Moudjahid the torchbearer of a renovated FLN. But we refused. There was never any question of leaving El Moudjahid or launching private newspapers. I, who was immersed in left-wing ideology, as well as other colleagues, did not see myself becoming the owner of a private newspaper. What we wanted was for the newspaper to become a public service body that would usher in the new political, economic and social transformations.6

However, the opposition between those who wanted to keep the press under control of the government and the reform movement eventually turned into a crisis within the newspaper El Moudjahid, forcing Mouloud Hamrouche to move towards this solution of a journalists’ cooperative.7 However, from the reformers’ point of view, the liberalisation of the press sector should by no means be synonymous with complete deregulation.  Interview with Omar Belhouchet, editor of the daily El Watan, 18/03/2017.  Interview with O. Belhouchet, 18/03/2017. 7  Other journalists belonging to other state bodies such as Horizons, Algérie Actualités, Echaab and La Radio were persuaded to accept the challenge. Some owners of private newspapers, such as Benchicou du Matin (disbanded in 2004), were members of the editorial staff of El Moudjahid, as were Kamel Belkacem, founder of the Quotidien d’Algérie and Kheiredine Ameyar, who died on 8 June 2000, founder of La Tribune, and who was a journalist at Algérie Actualité. As for Soir d’Algérie, its founders were mainly from Horizon, such as Farid Boughanem, Zoubir Souissi and Amar Bedrena. 5 6

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Indeed, the dissolution of the Ministry of Information mainly had a political effect, with the State acting as a regulator. This new legal framework has contributed to the emergence of tens of newspapers created in the form of journalists’ cooperatives, and this trend has continued despite the climate of instability that prevailed throughout the 1990s. In 2012, the legal arsenal was strengthened with the promulgation of the Organic Act on Information, which guaranteed relative legal security to private printed media companies. Access to information is now guaranteed by Article 83 of the Organic Act: “All authorities, administrations and institutions are obliged to provide journalists with all the information and data they request in order to guarantee the citizen’s right to information within the framework of this organic act and the legislation in force”.8 Moreover, the “press offence” is no longer considered a crime, whereas the 1990 code was called penal code bis. This development was, moreover, ratified by the new constitution of February 2016. Finally, it confers printed newspapers with a legal status enabling them to gain access to the advertising market and State aid. As a result, printed media companies are now divided into two categories: public companies whose capital is held exclusively by the state (El Mujahid, Echaab, El Massa and Horizon in particular) and private companies. The latter are owned by journalists or cooperatives (El Watan and El Khabar, e.g.) or private entrepreneurs: the Algerian publishing and communication company (SAEC), owned by businessman Issad Rebrab, edits the daily newspaper Liberté; the Médias Temps Nouveaux group of businessman Ali Hadad edits the daily newspapers Le Temps (in French) and El Waqt (in Arabic) as well as the television channels Dzair News and Dzair TV. A Highly Developed Market, But Strongly Affected by the Decline in Readership The second characteristic of this market is that, while its volume (number of titles and circulation) remains very high, the decline in print runs tends to gradually reduce its readership. Twenty-seven years after the promulgation of the first pluralist information code, the printed press market in 2015 consisted of 321 titles, 149 dailies of which 124 covered general news (86 in Arabic and 63 in French), with a daily circulation of around 8  Organic Act no. 12-05 of 18 Safar 1433 corresponding to 12 January 2012 on information (JORA no. 02 of 15 January 2012). Access: http://www.joradp.dz/FTP/ JO-FRANCAIS/2012/F2012002.pdf.

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2.36 million copies (1.52 million for Arabic-language newspapers and 0.84 million for French-language newspapers), or 62 copies per 1000 inhabitants per day. There are 33 weeklies (including 24 of a general nature), 26 in Arabic and 7 in French for an average print run of 800,713 copies. This figure is very high compared to that of newspapers that are published every fortnight (3 in French and 1 in Arabic), with an average circulation of 12,000 copies, and monthly newspapers (64 in French and 9 in Arabic with an average circulation of 227,000 copies).9 However, these general data conceal the considerable drop in print runs, which is obviously not specific to Algeria. While this is a long-term trend, it has intensified in recent years. Thus, the French-language daily El Watan, for example, whose print run was 109,843  in 2014, then dropped to 85,000  in 2016.10 Arabic-language newspapers are declining in a similar way, especially those that are used to printing more than 300,000 copies a day such as El Khabar, Ennahar and Echurouk. In 2014, the circulation of the latter daily newspaper declined by 17.83% (350,551 copies compared to 426,603  in 2013). Similarly, the Ennahar print run reached 231,855  in 2014 compared to 286,557 the previous year (−19.09%).11 The Moroccan press is in a similar situation since, by way of illustration, the paid circulation of the daily Al Massae, one of the most widely read newspapers in Morocco, has decreased from 113,101 copies in 2010 to just over 47,453 in 2015, representing a loss of almost 60% of its readership start here. Similarly, the circulation of Assabah decreased by half between 2010 and 2016.12 While it has been confirmed that the young people in Algeria are also less inclined to read the printed press, along with the growing importance of certain platforms (Google News, Yahoo Actualités or Orange News) as the main providers of general or specialised information (Ouakrat 2013, p.  164), it is nevertheless difficult to determine with any certainty that they are no longer interested at all in newspapers. As shown in a 2016 survey on 1800 people, a majority (68.3%) of the interviewees have read a 9  Ministère de la Communication, Les Cahiers de la Communications, pp. 73-74. Access: http://www.ministerecommunication.gov.dz/fr/node/1202. 10  The print runs of the daily El Watan were provided to us by O. Belhouchet, El Watan’s Chief Editor, during our interview (18/03/2017). 11  Zahra Rahmouni, “Tirage: les chiffres de la presse écrite algérienne en nette baisse” [“Circulation: the figures of the Algerian printed press in sharp decline], TSA. Access: http://www.tsa-algerie.com/20160503/tirage-chiffres-de-presse-ecrite-algerienne-nettebaisse. Consulted on 05/10/2016. 12  On the decline of circulation in Morocco, see the article by A. Benchenna, D. Ksikes and D. Marchetti in this book.

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daily newspaper during the last seven days.13 As in Morocco, Arabic-­ language newspapers are the most-read ones, which is due to educational Arabisation policies (particularly in the social sciences) in the early 1980s and their acceleration in the 1990s. Development of the Advertising Market for the Benefit of New Private Television Channels The printed press market has a third important characteristic, which is related to the first one. Although economic and political liberalisation has considerably expanded the advertisers’ market, even though it is dominated by a few large groups, since 2011 it has benefited new private audiovisual media more than the print media. This is the main particularity of the Algerian case insofar as the printed press is affected at the same time by the development of private television channels and digital media. Indeed, economic liberalisation, which accelerated in the early 2000s, has led to a decompartmentalisation of this market in which national and international private firms now compete with public companies and institutions, attacking their monopoly as the only advertising resource. Thus, 20% of the advertising market is held by the state advertising agency, the Agence nationale des éditions et de la publicité (Anep), which manages only institutional advertising and advertising from public companies. The rest is accounted for by the private sector which includes 4000 national and international advertising agencies.14 The telecommunications sector with its three main operators—Algerian Mobilis (13% of all advertising investments in Algeria), Qatari Oreedo (5%) and Russian Vimpelcom, which owns the Djeezy company (3.19%),15 after buying back the shares of Orascom, owned by Egyptian Naguib Sawaris—took first place for advertising investments during the first quarter of 2015 with sales of around 3.019 billion Algerian dinars (DA) (27.2 million euros) as against 1.59 billion DA (13.58 million euros) for the same period in 2014. The agri-­ food sector, with a market share of DA 2.546 billion (€21,712 million) 13  Source: http://www.mediasurvey-dz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/rapport1-2016_presse_novembre.pdf. 14  The figure for the number of agencies in the private sector was provided by Djamel Kiouane, CEO of Anep, in an interview with the government daily Horizon on 03/05/2016 (p. 6). 15  These main operators are mentioned by Belkacem Ahcen-Djabellah. Access: http:// www.almanach-dz.com/index.php?op=fiche&fiche=4382. Consulted on 23/04/2017.

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compared to DA 1.634 billion (€13,934 million), and the automotive sector, with a decline to DA 1.005 billion (€8.6 million) compared to DA 1.386 billion (€11.8 million) for the same period in 2014,16 took second and third place, respectively. These few figures reveal the increasing share of private advertisers, thus allowing the private printed press to free itself, at least in theory, from the pressure exerted by the public authorities, which often use this financial windfall as a way of exerting political pressure. But the very rapid creation and development of private television channels, which have taken a predominant place in the national media landscape, has completely changed the breakdown of media advertising expenditure by medium. The advertising revenues of newspapers have decreased, with the exception of state-owned newspapers (such as El Mujahid, e.g.). In 2016, the advertising market in Algeria was estimated at $200 million, or 0.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).17 Algeria has a ratio of $5 per capita, compared to $10  in Tunisia and $19  in Morocco. Fifty per cent of this advertising windfall is captured by television, since the advent of new channels, 20% to 25% for billboard advertising, between 10% and 15% for the press and about 8% for radio. Digital is around 2%.18 Indeed, these television channels, which emerged in 2012, imposed themselves in a very controversial context since their activity preceded the Act on audiovisual media, adopted in March 2014,19 and the specifications defining the conditions for the creation of a television channel or a private radio promulgated in August 2016.20 In addition to the economic crisis, which led to a decline in public procurement spending, private advertisers have directed advertising budgets towards these audiovisual media.21 Thus, during the first three months of 2015, advertising on television channels accounted for 84.2% of advertising investment, or DA 8.646 16  “Presse: Les journaux captent moins de publicité en Algérie” [“Press: Newspapers receive less advertising in Algeria”]. Access: http://www.immar-intl.com/presse-les-journaux-captent-moins-de-publicite-en-algerie/, 19/06/2015. Consulted on 04/02/2017. 17  Access: http://www.almanach-dz.com/index.php?op=fiche&fiche=5140. Consulted on 24/03/2017. 18  Access: http://www.almanach-dz.com/index.php?op=fiche&fiche=5140. Consulted on 24/03/2017. 19  Journal Officiel de la République Algérienne, no 16, 23/03/2014. 20  Executive Decree no. 16-222 of 11/08/2016, concerning the general specifications laying down the rules applicable to any television or sound broadcasting service. 21  “Presse: Les journaux captent moins de publicité en Algérie” [Newspapers get less advertising in Algeria], art. cit.

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billion, up from 72.83% for the same period in 2014 (DA 5.286 billion, €42 million). Conversely, the market share of the printed press decreased during the same period (10.03% of the market and DA 1.03 billion, €8.55 million), compared to the first quarter of 2014 (17.98% and DA 1.30 billion, €8.56 million) (ibid.). This reduction can also be seen in the volume of advertising inserts, which fell by 21% while the number of advertisers fell from 189 to 172 (or less 9%) (ibid.). In 2013, television accounted for 35% of the market share compared to 38% for printed media, 11% for radio and 16% for billboards (Sahar 2014, p.  61). In comparison, in Morocco, the share of the printed press is 20% (according to 2013 data) compared to 30% for television.22 These structural changes in revenues explain the difficult situation of the printed press, and more particularly of the low circulation newspapers: “We were at three pages of advertising per day, currently we are at one page and sometimes at one and a half pages per day,” says Kamel Mansari, Publishing Director of the Young Independent.23 The same applies to the daily newspaper Reporters, for which a single page of advertising is enough to produce a newspaper and pay salaries. Private advertising, which in many respects remains seasonal, according to some of the press owners we interviewed, has been absorbed by private television channels: “For 1 million dinars [or 7,500 euros] per page in a major French-speaking newspaper, advertisers, with the same budget, can broadcast commercials on television channels for a month,” explained Abdelouahab Djakoun, editor of the New Republic.24 A final feature of this Algerian paper press market is its strong geographical centralisation, with more than 80% of the newspapers with a national coverage being published in Algiers. With the exception of the Oran and Constantine provinces and the Kabyle region, the regional press remains poorly developed. 22  Meriem Elouaar, “Le marché publicitaire estimé à 6 milliards de DH en 2013” [The advertising market estimated at DH 6 billion in 2013], Médias 24, 07/02/2014. Access: https://www.medias24.com/MEDIAS-IT/8865-Le-marche-publicitaire-estime-a-6milliards-de-DH-en-2013.html. Friday 7/02/2014 consulted on 16/09/2017. 23  Interview, Algiers, 19/03/2017. 24  “Les journaux face à la crise: entretien croisé avec les patrons de La Tribune et de La Nouvelle République” [Newspapers in crisis: joint interview with the owners of La Tribune and La Nouvelle République], 07/03/2016. Access: http://www.tsa-algerie. com/20160307/journaux-face-a-crise-entretien-croise-patrons-de-tribune-de-nouvellerepublique. Consulted on 24/03/2017.

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Electronic Press: A Difficult Gestation Period Similarly, the development of the electronic press market in Algeria—and this is its main characteristic—is even more fragile and less stable than in its neighbours, particularly for political and technical reasons. Indeed, while the Internet was first introduced in 1993 through the centre for research and study of scientific and technical information (CERIST), it was not until December 1997 that the Algerian government authorised private operators to provide the population with access.25 The security situation, as well as the economic and financial difficulties of the time, undoubtedly explains this delay, combined with inadequate mastery of this new technology and the weakness of the infrastructure. On 14 October 2000, a new decree26 was adopted, facilitating public access to the Internet. But it was the Executive Decree no. 02-156 of 9 May 2002, laying down the conditions for interconnection of telecommunications networks and services27 that temporarily paved the way for partnership with the foreign private sector. For example, in 2001, the French operator Wanadoo launched Wanadoo Algeria through a partnership with the Algerian Internet provider at the time, Eepad. This first opening benefited the online press, which nevertheless continued to evolve in the shadow of the printed media.28 As Fatma-Zohra Taiebi-Moussaoui (2016, p. 64) rightly explains, “during this ‘early age’, editorial content was essentially, if not exclusively, that produced by the editorial team of the newspaper and the electronic version”. The reason for this choice was probably the reduced costs of producing such digitised content, in addition to the lack of adequate infrastructure (networks and platforms). Beyond these technical aspects, the reasons are stricto sensu also of a political nature. Indeed, we cannot exclude the hypothesis of the political authorities’ fear that the development of such a press would allow citizens

25  Decree 98-257 of 25 August 1998 authorising private companies to become Internet providers. 26  Executive Decree no. 2000-307 of 16 Rajab 1421, corresponding to 14 October 2000, amending Executive Decree no 98-257 of 3 Jumada El Oula 1419, corresponding to 25 August 1998, defining the conditions and procedures for the establishment and operation of Internet services. 27  Access: https://www.mptic.dz/sites/default/files/Decret%20ex%C3%A9%2002-156. pdf. Consulted on 26/03/2017. 28  Electronic versions of daily newspapers appeared in the late 1990s: El Watan in November 1998, El Khabar in April 1998, Liberté in January 1998, Echaab in June 1998, El Moudjahid in July 1998, Le Matin in October 1998 and Le Soir d’Algérie in November 1998.

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more access to information.29 Controlling access to information, particularly when it is security-related, is a major challenge. Due to the emergence of sites considered to be “subversive”—such as anp.org,30 for example, or sites that do not hesitate to provide information deemed to be politically incorrect, such as Algeria interface31—blocking access to information, as was the case during the 1990s, became a permanent challenge for the Algerian authorities. As a result of this new situation brought about by the development of information and communication technologies (ICT), CERIST lost its status as the only Internet provider, in 2002. From then on, the online press began to develop with the emergence of about ten sites offering a variety of content. The generalisation of Internet access has also enabled Algerian readers to have wider access to the content of foreign newspapers such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Courrier international, El Hayat, El Pais and the New York Times.32 This widening out to the international press offers readers the possibility of bypassing the censorship that comes down on certain media that are deemed critical to the Algerian authorities.33 The second characteristic of the electronic press market is the weakness of the pure players—of which there are about 20 (Table  11.1)—even if they were pioneers in the development of digital information, such as Algeria Interface, created in 2001, which tries to provide a forum for journalistic expression free of any physical or legal constraints. Nevertheless, the market remains dominated by traditional media names. Indeed, online editions of newspapers (Table  11.2) exceed pure players in terms of  The adult literacy rate in Algeria reached 72.6% in 2012, according to statistics provided by UNICEF.  Access: https://www.unicef.org/french/infobycountry/algeria_statistics. html. Consulted on 05/03/2017. 30  Created by officers who called themselves “free officers”, the online information site anp.org provided information on the security situation in Algeria. 31  Algérie interface a été créée en 2001 par Djamel Ben Ramdan et El Kadi Ihssane, deux anciens journalistes du quotidien La Tribune. 32  It is important to note that 37.02% of Algerian families own at least one computer, while 31.88% of Algerian families have access to the Internet. Access: http://www.itu.int/net4/ ITU-D/idi/2016/#idi2016countrycard-tab&DZA. Consulted on 24/03/2017. 33  Among the media considered to be critical of the Algerian authorities is the French daily newspaper Libération, whose writings were not to the liking of the Algerian authorities. Another example was the 2004 presidential election, when the correspondent of the newspaper Le Figaro, Arezki Ait-Larbi, reported on a last-minute arrangement between the senior military hierarchy and presidential candidate Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to the detriment of Ali Benflis, the president’s rival in that election. The newspaper was censored in Algeria, but Algerian readers were able to access its content through the electronic version. 29

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Table 11.1  The main pure players in Algeria in 2017 Name of newspaper

Year of launch

Theme

Al Huffington Post Algérie Algérie1 Algérie 360 Algérie Focus Algérie patriotique Chouf-Chouf El Manchar Impact 24 Maghreb Emergent Sabqpresse Tout sur l’Algérie (TSA)

2014 2011 2009 2008 2012 2013 2013 2014 2010 2015 2007

News News News News News News Satirical News News News News

This table was compiled from information gathered by consulting the sites in question and from the managers of certain sites. There are others [about ten], but we decided to focus only on those whose visibility is more proven by taking as criteria their audience, as we shall see in the two tables below Table 11.2  Audience of pure players compared to online editions of newspapers, April 2016–January 2017 Site name

chouf-chouf.com maghrebemergent.com sabqpress.net itmag-dz.com impact24.info Echoroukonline.com Elkhabar.com Ennaharonline.com Elbilad.net elheddaf.com tsa-algerie.com elwatan.com liberte-algerie.com algerie360.com algerie-focus.com algeriepatriotique.com algerie1.com

Time spent on site (in minutes and seconds) 2.56 2.08 2.33 1.44 1.55 5.47 5.22 4.37 4.15 5,07 5.06 3.58 2.60 4.12 2.45 4.26 3.22

Number of pages visited daily by visitors 1.40 1.30 1.60 1.20 1.30 2.60 2.85 2.56 2.04 3,12 2.51 1.91 1.91 1.86 1.61 2.09 1.71

Source: http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/DZ

Percentage of visitors to Algeria 57.6 % 54.5 % 75.9 % 50.6 % 69.7 % 80.04 % 82% 87 % 89.9 % 86 % 65.7 % 63.5 % 65 % 74.5 % 66.0 % 65.6 % 88.8 %

National rank

1.561 2.636 3.279 9.061 9.236 21 24 38 44 55 74 199 318 404 531 658 871

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Table 11.3  Audience of online sites in number of visitors in 2016 Site name

Number of visits/ month

Number of unique visitors/month

Number of pages viewed/month

Algerie-focus.com Maghrebemergent.com Tsa-algerie.com Algerie 360 Liberte-algerie.com Elwatan.com Ennahaonline.com Elhadaf.com Elkhabar.com Echouroukonline.com

226,000 140,000 1,400,000 420,000 1,400,000 1,800,000 2,400,000 5,400,000 5,900,000 6,500,000

20,000 43,000 350,000 350,000 690,000 910,000 1,200,000 1,600,000 2,400,000 2,600,000

470,000 100,000 4,600,000 110 000 4,300,000 5,100,000 9,000,000 16,000,000 23,000,000 26,000,000

Source: Google Analytics

audience, with Echouroukonline coming in first place, followed by el Khabar, Ennahar and el Hadaf. For pure players, the first in the list is TSA, far ahead of Algeria 360 and Algérie Focus or Algérie1. Moreover, this asymmetry in visibility is greater in terms of the number of monthly visits (Table 11.3). These figures for 2016 clearly confirm the difference between the two types of media. Between Echouroukonline and TSA, which is ranked first in Algeria among online information sites, the gap is irrefutable: 2.6 million unique visitors per month compared to 350,000 for TSA. Even Maghreb Emergent and Focus Algeria, although recognised as very active information sites, are far behind the digital versions of newspapers. In other words, pure players do not compete strongly with newspapers and their digital versions. As in most national media spaces, the other trend is that the increasing use of social networks, especially among the youngest population, is encouraging the spread of online information sites. Thus, according to the Arab Social Media Report, Facebook and Twitter had 7 million and 37,500 users, respectively, in Algeria in 2014 (Giacobino 2015, p. 18), 68% male and 32% female (64% and 36% in Morocco, 59% and 41% in Tunisia).34 Social networks such as Facebook are considered to be essential platforms 34  Facebook user shares by gender (male/female) in Algeria (February 2014). Source: http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/algeria. Quoted by Ali Sahar (2014).

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for accessing content provided by pure players or online editions of newspapers. Thus, for Algérie focus, between 50% and 60% of its readers come from Facebook (between 160,000 and 175,000 readers).35 For Echouroukonline, the rate is 10%.36 While it is comparatively low, it is very significant in terms of the number of visitors to this site per month. The third dominant feature of this emerging market is that, while the development of online advertising is exponential as in other countries, the still modest level37 of ICT development in Algeria penalises the online press more than elsewhere for the capture of advertising (only 2% of the $200 million). Indeed, online advertising investment has increased fourfold in five years: in 2014, it reached DA556 million (about €5 million) compared to DA151 million (€1.2 million) in 2009 (Taiebi-Moussaoui 2011, p.  198). Telecommunication companies such as Djeezy, Mobilis and Ooredoo are the leading suppliers of advertising offers,38 broken down into a few dominant agencies such as Premium Communication, Medialgeria, Med&Com, Mediastrategy, OMD, Kyo conseil, Fifty-four and WB Media.39 However, the online press remains in many respects a very small minority on the advertising market, as is also the case in Morocco, where the share of digital media currently accounts for between 200 (17.93 million euros) and 300 million dirhams (26.90 million euros).40 The other characteristic of the digital press market is that it is, at least for the moment, very poorly regulated from a legal point of view. Indeed, the lack of a legal framework guaranteeing legal certainty places the electronic press in a situation of asymmetry compared to the printed press.  Figures provided by Abddou Semar, interview, 20/03/2017.  This figure was provided by Nassim Lakhal, editor-in-chief of the Echouroukonline. comwebsite. 37  According to indicators provided by the Ministry of Posts and Information and Communication Technologies (MPTIC), the number of Internet subscribers is expected to reach 2.26 million by 2015, including 1.83 million for ADSL. Source: https://www.mptic. dz/fr/content/indicateurs-0. 38  Access: http://www.agenceecofin.com/publicite/2001-25937-algerie-la-publicite-enligne-a-atteint-556-milliards-de-dinars-en-2014. Accessed 06/02/2017. 39  Data on advertising investment by telecommunications companies were provided to us by Medias & Survey. The author would like to thank the people in charge of this firm. 40  “Le digital bouleverse le marché publicitaire marocain” [Digitisation is revolutionising the Moroccan advertising market], Media Marketing, 30/03/2017. Access: http://www. mediamarketing.ma/article/FGZPGDD/le_digital_bouleverse_le_marchae_publicitaire_ marocain.html. Consulted on 16/09/2017. 35 36

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Thus, unlike the inflation of the legal framework governing the written press, only two articles of the so-called organic act of 2012 are devoted to it. Article 6641 states that “the exercise of the online information activity is free”. Article 67 (ibid.) defines the electronic press as “any online written communication service intended for the public or a category of the public, published on a professional basis by a natural or legal person governed by Algerian law who has control over the editorial line of its content”. The purpose of this press and its content are defined: “Online print media activity consists in the production of original content of general interest, regularly renewed, consisting of news related information that has been processed in a journalistic way” (Article 68, ibid.). This category, therefore, excludes “publications distributed in paper form, which do not fall into this category when the version put online and the original version are identical” (ibid.). In other words, not only does the legal framework for the online press remain in many respects imprecise, but it also suffers from the lack of institutional recognition. Indeed, none of the active sites have an accreditation, which nevertheless does not prevent them from using journalists. The latter thus receive press releases from state institutions, including the Ministry of Defence, and are officially invited to cover government activities. These few excerpts from interviews with some online site managers illustrate this paradox: “Our situation looks like a Fatiha marriage (a religious marriage) while waiting for the ministry to legally recognize us,” admits Abdelouahab Boukrouh, director of the Aljazair el Yaoum information site42; “I didn’t even file an application on the assumption that the Act does not impose any regulations. So, it is not even a ‘concubine relationship’ as some call it. I am a professional journalist, I have my networks to get information. Besides, I don’t have a press card,” says Tarek Hafidh even more openly.43 Without accreditation or a press card, these online 41  Organic Act no. 12-05 of 18 Safar 1433 corresponding to 12 January 2012 on information (JORA no. 02 of 15 January 2012). http://www.joradp.dz/FTP/JO-FRANCAIS/ 2012/F2012002.pdf. 42  Interview, Algiers, 12/03/2017. A graduate in economics, A.  Boukrouh began his career in 2001 as an economic journalist with the Quotidien d’Algérie and then worked in Arabic-speaking Algerian newspapers such as El Bilad, Echouroukand then as a correspondent for some international Arab newspapers. He also worked for the television channel Dzair News and was news director for Numedia News. 43  Interview, 13/03/2017. A former director of the news website Impact24 and a former member of Soir d’Algérie, T. Hafidh is a self-taught journalist.

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information sites are nevertheless active.44 Is this really a paradox when the site in question is not even hosted in Algeria? According to Abdou Semar, director of Algeria focus, “the ministry violates its own laws. It wants us to be hosted in Algeria, but it’s not possible45!” And yet, since relations play a very important role, this legal ambiguity does not prevent journalists working for these media from accessing information, unlike many journalists in the printed press. If the absence of a clear legal basis is detrimental, this is because access to the advertising market as well as to the market for State aid is difficult for these media. “There is no law that protects digital content. Not only are we deprived of institutional advertising, but it is very difficult to compete with private newspapers. Some newspapers have deliberately launched online editions to compete with us in the advertising market. This is unfair competition. But the worst thing about all this is the 19% VAT imposed by the new finance act that applies to us,” says Abdelouahab Boukrouh.46 Similarly, Abdou Semar, former head of Algeria Focus, argues that “some private newspapers practice unfair competition. The ANEP, which is allowed to work on the net, does not do so. Worse still, public companies siphon news off Facebook, even though the law prohibits it”.47 Furthermore, the business model of this press, particularly the transition to the all-paying model, requires a highly developed technological platform to facilitate online financial transactions. However, in Algeria, and in the opinion of some online publishers and ICT experts,48 this platform has not yet been 44  Other journalists belonging to other structures, such as Sabqpresse, Algérie 24, Cherchel News and Algérie focus, to mention only the sites within which we investigated, have confirmed the lack of accreditation and the broad freedom to work that they have. 45  Interview, Algiers, 20/03/2017. A former journalist with El Watan, La Tribune and the private channel El Djazaria, A. Semar was one of the founders of the Nessnews and Special Envoys information sites. He then joined Algérie focus, founded in 2008 by Fayçal Anser. In 2011, Kamel Hedar bought the newspaper, but then withdrew in 2015, leaving A. Semar to manage and edit the paper. 46  Interview, Algiers, 12/03/2017. 47   Interview, Algiers, 20/03/2017. Former Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal had instructed all public companies in November last year to stop using social networks and Google for advertising intrusions. 48  E. K. Ihssane, director of the Maghreb émergentdaily newspaper, Rafik Khnenifsa, director of IT magazine and Younes Grar, ICT expert, pointed out this weakness at a round table discussion held on the sidelines of the seminar entitled “ICT in Algeria: issues and challenges”, organised by the laboratory, Media, social uses and communication (Musc), at the École nationale supérieure de journalisme et de l’information d’Alger on 5 December 2016.

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sufficiently developed. For digital information sites and even for paper newspapers, it is not feasible to introduce the paid model in the short term until online payment has developed sufficiently.49 But for some pure players, the situation is more complex because they are considered to be foreign sites. Moreover, in the Cahiers de la Communication (2015, p.  69), a report published by the Ministry of Communication, a site such as TSA is classified in the category of “foreign press”. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika himself had castigated electronic media by stating that “it is a challenge for Algeria as a whole because it [the electronic press] often comes from foreign countries and makes it possible to disseminate slanderous and insulting insinuations, to spread subversive ideas, or even to attack our people and our country openly and without any scruples”.50

New Forms of State Interventionism The Political Manipulation of Institutional Advertising and State Aid One cannot understand the position of the press in Algeria without also underscoring its lack of autonomy from the State, which is another central variable in the tools proposed by Daniel C.  Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004, pp.  41–44). The very uneven distribution of public advertising resources is one of the new ways the State likes to intervene. The media market is hybrid, particularly the printed press, for which the influence of the State remains considerable (Dris 2014, pp. 65–75). Indeed, in addition to owning certain newspapers, television channels and radio frequency bands, the Algerian State is a direct player in this advertising market through institutional advertisements. Its influence is even greater in times of economic crisis.

49  Interview with Rafik Khenifssa, director of the specialised newspaper IT Magazine, Algiers, 08/03/2017. A computer engineer, R. Khenifssa has been a highly motivated journalist since the late 1980s. He worked in particular at Le Jeune Indépendant and La Tribune before launching his own newspaper in 2002. 50  Extract from President A. Bouteflika’s speech on the occasion of the National Press Day, quoted by Maghreb Emergent, on 22/10/2016. Access: http://www.maghrebemergent. info/actualite/maghrebine/64799-journee-nationale-de-la-presse-bouteflika-critique-lapresse-electronique-et-veut-une-regulation.html. Consulted on 09/09/2017.

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To counter the oligopoly created by some mass-circulation newspapers, the State has supported smaller newspapers through institutional advertising. Ahmed Ouyahia, former prime minister, signed on 18 August 200451 an unpublished instruction requiring public administrations, public enterprises, public industrial and commercial establishments and public establishments in general to entrust the distribution and contracting of their advertising and announcements exclusively to the National Agency for Publishing and Advertising (ANEP).52 For the small private printed press and even for the government press, this instruction was perceived as a breath of fresh air. But this use of institutional advertising is now a means of state control, as shown by this statement of Hamid Grine, former Minister of Communication: “As Minister of Communication, I am not interested in a newspaper being circulated, if it insults, defames and propagates fitna” [discord].53 The state use of institutional advertising reflects a fear that private newspapers will establish a dominant position in this market, which would be a sign of autonomy and independence. The case of the daily newspaper Djazair News (in both French and Arabic versions) illustrates this manipulation. This newspaper went under in 2014 after ANEP stopped paying it for institutional advertising. H’mida Ayachi, the newspaper’s editor, accused the government of being behind this exclusion on the grounds of its involvement with the Barakat Movement (enough is enough!) which opposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s fourth term in office. Under Ben Ali in Tunisia, this manipulation was done by the Tunisian Agency for External Communication (ATCE). Until its

51  A.  Ouyahia became Prime Minister again on 15 August 2017, after Abdelmadjid Teboune’s dismissal, three months after his appointment. This dismissal followed the arm wrestling contest he had with businessmen and their leader, namely the head of the Business Leaders Forum (BCF), Ali Haddad. 52   Press releases and advertising of public companies: L’ANEP, Support Exclusif. Instruction of the Prime Minister, A. Ouyahia dated 18 August 2004. In general, executive decrees, orders, decrees and other legislative texts are public documents that are accessible to citizens via the electronic portals of the various bodies and structures of the Algerian State. However, this instruction was not published, hence the controversy it caused among private press publishers. 53  Achira Mammeri, “Hamid Grine: “Le ministère ne gère pas la publicité” [The minister is not in charge of advertising], TSA, 06/10/2016. Access: http://www.tsa-algerie. com/20161006/hamid-grine-ministere-ne-gere-publicite/. Consulted on 06/10/2016.

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suppression in 2011, it granted advertising (only) to newspapers supporting the government.54 Other forms of state aid have also been introduced for the first generation of newspapers launched in the early 1990s: these included premises at the maison de la presse at very low, if not symbolic, rents; subsidies for the purchase of paper and the distribution of newspapers by air and so on. The second wave of newspapers, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, did not receive the same advantages, except those that chose an editorial position in line with the political stance, such as Ennahar l’Expression. Finally, State interventionism is also evident through the advantageous measures granted to these newspapers, with the exception of a few such as El Khabar, El Watan and Liberté. This support is all the more advantageous as these newspapers are highly indebted to printing companies.55 “Freedom” on a Tight Rein But legal prohibitions are another indicator of the role that the Algerian State plays in the media sector. Based strictly on the laws, it has created the appropriate conditions for the promotion of an “independent” press where journalists can exercise their profession, free from any constraints. Thus, the last Constitution, adopted in February 2016, confirmed this principle by stating in article 50 that “freedom of the printed press, audiovisual media and information networks is guaranteed. It is not restricted by any form of prior censorship” and that “the press offence cannot be punished by a custodial sentence”.56 The imprisonment of journalists for 54  For more details on the advertising given to newspapers supporting the government, see the Rapport Général de l’Instance Nationale pour la Réforme de l’Information & de la Communication [General Report of the National Commission for Information & Communication Reform], 2012. Chapter 2, and in particular the section on advertising, Paragraph 3, p.  65. www.inric.tn/rapports/fr/Pages%20of%20INRIC_Report_final_ en_02.pdf. 55  For the Société d’impression d’Alger alone (SIA), receivables from certain newspapers amount to 100 billion cents (or 7 million euros). The Arabic-language daily Echourouk has accumulated debts of 60 billion cents (nearly €4 million). The CEO of the SIA has denounced the “victimization” of some newspapers with debts of around 100 billion cents (nearly €7 million). Access: https://www.algerie1.com/actualite/le-pdg-de-la-sia-denonce-la-victimisation-de-certains-journaux-dont-les-dettes-avoisinent-les-100-milliards. Consulted on 24/09/2017. 56  Constitution of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, March 2016. Access: www.joradp.dz.

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their writings, as was the case before, particularly during the 1990s, would thus be prohibited. However, the 2012 Organic Act contains several provisions that limit journalists’ room for manoeuvre, particularly on issues related to defence, national sovereignty or foreign policy.57 These prohibitions also concern defamation, insulting the President of the Republic, infringing on the private lives of public figures,58 ethics and journalistic deontology59 and so on. The most exemplary case is probably the way President Bouteflika’s health was reported. In the Maghreb, Algeria is no exception. In Morocco, despite the reforms introduced, confirmed by a new constitution adopted in 2011, the influence of the State (the makhzen) remains significant. Thus, the Moroccan printed press, like other media, must not cross over certain “red lines”, by criticising namely the figure of the king, the monarchy as an institution, foreign policy and the Muslim religion (Hidass 2016, pp. 36–38). State interventionism takes the form of authoritarian management aimed at limiting the effect of reforms and linked to the fear that the media arena will become autonomous from the political arena, which is controlled by the monarchy. In Tunisia, the situation is significantly different, particularly since the 2011 revolt that led to the fall of the Zine Al Abidin Ben Ali regime and the introduction of political reforms offering more freedom to the press. This change essentially took the form of the abolition of certain media control tools such as the Ministry of Communication, the agency for external communication and the adoption of new legislation, starting with the adoption of a new constitution on 27 January 2014, which promotes freedom of expression and information (El Bour 2016, pp. 115–116).

Non Partisan Political Parallelism While the crisis of the printed press in Algeria is partly due to international political, commercial and technical transformations affecting this press in particular and cultural industries in general (Bouquillion 2008; Bouquillion et al. 2013), the fact remains that the functioning of the State but also the underlying logic of the Algerian political system itself are other factors which should be investigated to further our understanding. It is thus more 57  Article 84 of the Organic Act on Information. Organic Act no. 12-05 of 18 Safar 1433, corresponding to 12 January 2012, on information. 58  Article 93, ibid. 59  Article 92, ibid.

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precisely the connection between the partisan political sphere and the media sphere, more commonly known as “political parallelism”, to use the expression of Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini that must be understood. According to Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004), the indicators of political parallelism of the press are: the content of media messages (showing the extent to which these media reflect existing ideological trends in their writing); organisational links with parties or other employers’ or trade union organisations; the active involvement of journalists in political life; the tendency of some political party activists to buy a particular newspaper or watch a particular television channel according to their own taste; and finally the role and practice of journalism (retain more of the “publicist” role that once prevailed in political journalism – that is, an orientation toward influencing public opinion. Journalists in other systems or periods, meanwhile, are more likely to see themselves as providers of neutral information or entertainment, an orientation we would associate with a low level of political parallelism). First, with the exception of the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has its own newspaper Sawt El Ahrar,60 the existing printed and electronic newspapers have no partisan affiliation, since the political parties have not created their own newspapers. The only ones to have done so, at the beginning of the political opening in the late 1980s, were the Socialist Forces Front (FFS) with El Haq La Réalité and the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) before its disbanding, with El Mounqid (Le Sauveur). This is not the case in Morocco, where the partisan press coexists with the private press (Hidass 2016, p. 30). The political and historical trajectories of these two countries undoubtedly explain this difference. In Algeria, the single party prevented the political opposition from having its own media outlets, unlike Morocco, where the monarchy, including during the reign of Hassan II, did not prohibit the authorised opposition parties from owning their own outlets that have long monopolised the media landscape along with the “official” press. Second, while partisan press interconnections have not been established, it is nevertheless true that existing newspapers largely reflect the main existing political trends. Thus, liberal and secular ideology finds its place more in dailies such as El Watan, Liberté, Le Soir d’Algérie, Le Quotidien d’Oran, L’Expression and El Khabar. These newspapers generally defend values such as freedom of thought and opinion, the promotion 60  The people in charge of the Sawt El Ahrar newspaper are activists within the FLN and some of the party’s senior executives regularly contribute to the newspaper.

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of equality between men and women, secular and “modern” education. As for the electronic press, TSA, Maghreb Emergent and Algérie patriotique embody the liberal and secular trend. On the other hand, newspapers such as El Bilad or Echourouk promote a conservative ideology, close to the Islamists in the case of El Bilad. That being said, the political-ideological demarcation lines are, in reality, not very clear-cut. Titles such as Ennahar and Echourouk defend a line that is both liberal in economics and conservative on social issues. The fact that the ideological positions are not obvious, probably due to the lack of organisational links between these newspapers and political parties. While it is true that a newspaper like Liberté is known to be close to the Rassemblement pour la culture et la démocratie (RCD),61 it is not affiliated to it. This is rather a form of political patronage, Ennahar being an exemplary case. Third, given that there are no organic links between these newspapers and political parties, it is difficult to establish with certainty whether journalists are actively involved in partisan politics. Nevertheless, newspapers such as Ennahar or L’Expression and La Tribune have no affiliation with the FLN, the Rassemblement national démocratique (RND), the Islamic Party (TAJ) and the Mouvement populaire d’Algérie (MPA) and yet defend the political line of the ruling government. The campaign for the 2014 presidential election demonstrated this, as the bodies in question supported Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fourth term. The same applies to government newspapers such as El Moudjahid, Echaab and Horizon, where journalists, both during and outside election campaigns, are mobilised to relay the official political line. Paradoxically, Ennahar, whether for the newspaper or the television channel, has become the preferred channel of presidential communication. During the crisis between former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Teboune and CFE boss, businessman Ali Hadad, Ennahar and the daily L’Expression relayed the instructions of the presidency, a mission generally assigned to official bodies (television, radio, the Agence presse service [APS] or the daily newspapers El Moudjahid and Echaab). In fact, there is a de-institutionalisation of presidential communication and a presidentialisation of the private media.  Created in 1989, the RCD is a political party with a secular tendency. Its founders are, in their overwhelming majority, activists promoting the Berber cause. The RCD opposed the Islamists of the Islamic Salvation Front, but since 2001 it has experienced internal strife that has led some of its founding members to leave the party, either to join the government or to create another political party. This is particularly true for Amara Benyounes who created his own party, the Algerian People’s Movement (MPA), close to the current rulers. 61

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Fourth, ideological boundaries are in line with newspaper reading preferences. While it is difficult to claim that a political party prefers a particular newspaper or website, it is possible to speculate that supporters of parties close to the government are more likely to consult less critical newspapers such as Ennahar, L’Expression, Sawt El Ahrar, La Tribune, Le Jeune Indépendant or sites such as Algerie1 and the television channels Ennahar and Dzair TV. For the opposition, the preference is for El Watan, El Khabar, Liberté, Le Soir d’Algérie or Echourouk and to web sites such as TSA, Algérie patriotique, Maghreb Emergent, Sabqpress. These bodies are known for their critical positions towards the government. Fifth, many political actors can use a media to influence the political sphere (Hallin, Mancini 2004, p. 37). This is true in Algeria as elsewhere. However, the novelty is the systematic use of the private press and not only the public media. The case of the daily newspaper Ennahar and its television channel is a perfect illustration of the patronage relations established by the political authorities with certain media players.

Difficult Professionalisation The variable of political parallelism is closely linked to that of the “professionalisation of journalists”, to extend the use of the terminology of Daniel C.  Hallin and Paolo Mancini, who used three criteria to analyse it: the autonomy of the corporation, distinct professional standards and the recognition of the notion of public service. The few studies carried out on the subject in Algeria focused on the question of the autonomy of this profession at a time when media pluralism was in its infancy. Thus, Belkacem Mostefaoui (1992), in a comparative analysis of three Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), identified elements of convergence. In the case of Algeria, he explained (ibid.: 63) that in the era of the single party, the government controlled the profession through the Union des journalistes écrivains et interprètes [Union of Writer and Interpreter Journalists] (UJEC). There was no freedom to create businesses since the State was the main employer and the journalist was an activist, whose only professional reason for being was to reflect the dominant ideology in his writing. Moreover, the only source of information was the APS, which thus deprived the journalist of any sense of initiative. The desire to empower the profession began with the revolt of 5 October 1988, when a group of journalists created the Movement of Algerian Journalists (MJA), the first independent organisation in the Arab

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world, whose role in establishing media pluralism was decisive. This movement towards empowerment continued with the creation of the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), a framework that allowed journalists to defend their interests against bosses but also to defend their right to exercise their profession freely. However, during the 1990s, in the midst of the security crisis, journalists’ freedom of movement was severely curtailed. Indeed, the fight against terrorism imposed strict control over security information, which was governed by a legal system that caused some journalists to get into legal disputes.62 In addition, many journalists have been murdered, such as Saïd Mekbel, Tahar Djaout, Smail Yefsah, Ameur Ouagueni, to name but a few, while others have chosen exile.63 During this period, the autonomy desired by journalists was rendered meaningless, especially since their socio-professional status was very precarious. As a clear sign of this precarity, most journalists were accommodated in state hotels provided by the government, for security reasons. Since the 2000s, with the improvement in the security situation, the socio-professional conditions of journalists have improved relatively. However, there are still acute problems related to the structure of the corporation, the creation of ethics and professional conduct committees or the regulatory authority for the printed press. While a solution has been found with the creation of the Audiovisual Regulatory Authority (ARAV), this is not the case for the printed press. This press was weakened and made more vulnerable to pressure from the public authorities by the situation of disunity that characterised the printed press and, above all, the neutralisation of the Syndicat national des journalistes algériens (SNJA) after the election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a second term in 2004 (Mostefaoui 2016, p.  26), combined with tensions between publishers. These tensions have intensified since the 2004 presidential election when a group of newspapers (Le Matin, El Watan, Le Soir d’Algérie, Liberté, El Khabar and L’Expression) came out publicly against the re-election of 62  On the legal issues of some journalists, we can cite, for example, the cases of journalists from the daily El Watan in 1993 who published information on the murder of gendarmes in Ksar el Hirane in the Wilaya of Medea or the newspaper La Tribune, suspended for six months, after its cartoonist journalist Chawki Amar had published a caricature of the national emblem. For more details on this aspect of the issue, see Nassima Ferchiche (2011). 63  There were nearly 100 journalists murdered between 1993 and 1997. For a fairly detailed analysis of the situation and practice of journalism in Algeria during the 1990s, see Tristan Leperlier (2016).

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Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Djaafer 2009, p. 183). In 2014, the same scenario, without the daily Le Matin, suspended in 2004, was repeated. Ennahar, L’Expression, and many other very small newspapers have come out in favour of Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s fourth term, unlike newspapers such as El Watan, Liberté, El Khabar and Le Soir d’Algérie.

Conclusion The variables used by Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini make it possible to examine the new forms of legal, economic and political constraints that negatively affect the functioning and trajectories of the printed and electronic press markets in Algeria. The gap between, on the one hand, a printed press that is suffering the full effects of the economic crisis and, on the other hand, an electronic press that is struggling to find resources is certainly not an Algerian exception since, in developed countries, both media are resisting the global economic crisis differently. Nevertheless, the Algerian case differs from it, in particular because of the new forms of State intervention, which continues to exercise a predominant influence on the functioning of the market, even if it is less visible than in the period of the single party. Indeed, the Algerian authorities have not provided the legal foundations needed for development of the electronic press, nor have they taken steps to reduce the effects of the economic crisis on printed media. Moreover, they continue to regulate the advertising market, which operates largely according to political rules, through the distribution of institutional press releases and, indirectly, those of the large private groups close to them.

References Ardjoun, S. (2015). Images et symboles de l’insertion des NTIC dans les entreprises de presse en Algérie. La Revue de la communication et du journalisme, 2(3), 45–81. Bouquillion, P. (2008). Les Industries de la culture et de la communication. Les stratégies du capitalisme. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble. Bouquillion, P., Miège, B., & Moeglin, P. (2013). L’Industrialisation des biens symboliques. Les industries créatives en regard des industries culturelles. Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble. Brahimi, B. (1989). Le Pouvoir, la presse et les intellectuels en Algérie. Paris: L’Harmattan.

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Charon, J.-M. (2010). De la presse imprimée à la presse numérique. Le débat français. Réseaux, 160–161, 255–281. Cheurfi, A. (2010). La Presse algérienne. Genèse, conflits et défis. Alger: Éd. Casbah. Chouikha, L. (1995). Propriétés et particularités du champ politico-journalistique en Tunisie. Revue NAQD, 8-9, 113–124. Dagiral, É., & Parasie, S. (2010). Presse en ligne: où en est la recherche ? Réseaux, 160–161, 13–42. Djaafer, S. (2009). Algérie, une ouverture médiatique entravée. In K.  Mohsen-­ Finan (Ed.), Les Médias en Méditerranée. Nouveaux médias, monde arabe et relations internationales (pp. 179–190). Arles/Aix-en-Provence/Alger: Actes Sud/MMSH/Barzakh Éd. Dris, C. (2012). La nouvelle loi organique sur l’information de 2012 en Algérie: vers un ordre médiatique néo-autoritaire? L’Année du Maghreb, VIII, 303–320. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/1506. Dris, C. (2014). Les médias en Algérie: un espace en mutation. Maghreb-Machrek, 3(221), 65–75. El Bour, H. (2016). Être correspondant régional en Tunisie: De l’aliénation au pouvoir à la liberté totale. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 115–128. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2836. Ferchiche, N. (2011). La Liberté de la presse écrite dans l’ordre juridique algérien. Paris: LGDJ. Gafaïti, H. (1999). Power, Censorship and the Press: The Case of Postcolonial Algeria. Research in African Literatures, 30(3), 51–61. Giacobino, L. (2015). Panorama des médias en ligne. Algérie, Égypte, Jordanie, Liban, Maroc, Palestine, Syrie, Tunisie. Paris: CFI. Retrieved from www.cfi.fr/ sites/default/files/panorama-medias-version-longue-BD_5.pdf. Hallin, D. C., & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing Media Systems. Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hidass, A. (2016). Quand “l’exception” confirme la règle. L’encadrement juridique de la liberté de la presse écrite au Maroc. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 29–44. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2774. Kraemer, G. (2003). Journaux Algériens. De la presse à la toile. Panorama des sites web des quotidiens arabophones et francophones. Réseaux, 122, 273–285. Retrieved from https://www.cairn.info/revue-reseaux1-2003-6-page-273.htm. Leperlier, T. (2016). Journaliste dans la guerre civile algérienne: Une profession intellectuelle entre littérature et politique. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 79–96. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2810. Merah, A. (2016). La quête d’identité professionnelle des journalistes de la presse en ligne en Algérie: Pratiques, compétences et profils. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 159–174. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2880.

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Mostefaoui, B. (1992). Professionnalisation et autonomie des journalistes au Maghreb. Éléments de mise en situation des actions et conflits. Réseaux, 51, 55–66. Retrieved from http://www.persee.fr/doc/reso_0751-7971_ 1992_num_10_51_1924. Mostefaoui, B. (2013). Médias et Liberté d’Expression en Algérie. Repères d’évolution et éléments d’analyse critique. Alger: Dar El Othmania. Mostefaoui, B. (2016). Note sur la régulation des médias en Algérie. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 25–28. Retrieved from https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/2772. Ouakrat, A. (2013). La consommation d’informations en ligne: un cadrage quantitatif. In J.  Jouët & R.  Rieffel (Eds.), S’informer à l’ère numérique (pp. 159–192). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes. Pélissier, N. (2003). Un cyberjournalisme qui se cherche. Hermès. La Revue, 35, 99–107. Retrieved from https://www.cairn.info/revue-hermes-la-revue2003-1-page-99.htm. Rebillard, F. (2002). Webzines, e-zines: quels nouveaux médias? Médiamorphoses, 4, 57–63. Rebillard, F. (2007). Le Web 2.0 en perspective. Paris: L’Harmattan. Sahar, A. (2014). Projet de collecte de données statistiques sur les marchés cinématographiques et audiovisuels dans 9 pays méditerranéens. Monographies nationales: 6. Algérie. Tunis: Euromed Audiovisuel III/CDSU/Observatoire européen de l’audiovisuel. https://rm.coe.int/1680788a6c. Smyrnaios, N. (2009). Les groupes de presse américains sur l’internet: une approche économique. Les Cahiers du journalisme, 20, 110–124. Retrieved from http://www.cahiersdujournalisme.net/pdf/20/06_SMYRNAIOS.pdf. Taiebi-Moussaoui, F.-Z. (2011). La Publicité virtuelle en Algérie: enjeux, usages et effets. PhD thesis, Université Paris 8. Taiebi-Moussaoui, F.-Z. (2016). Le développement de la presse électronique en Algérie: des dispositifs aux pratiques journalistiques. Étude d’un échantillon de journaux en ligne. L’Année du Maghreb, 15, 61–76. Retrieved from https:// anneemaghreb.revues.org/2796.

CHAPTER 12

Tunisian Post-2011 Private Presses: Economic and Political Mutations Enrique Klaus and Olivier Koch

Tunisia’s private press is not only older than Algeria’s, but has also remained under the control of the ruling political forces for longer. This proto-partisan press, which was already present during the country’s colonial period, has always supported the nationalist cause. After independence was gained in 1956, followed by a short-lived period of freedom, it has become increasingly muzzled. In 1963, Tunisia became a one-party state within which only two newspapers remained—one was state-owned and the other, which was privately owned, was simply a duplicate of the first. At the end of the 1970s, however, Tunisia saw the dawn of a “media spring”—a sort of misleading opening-up of the media. Around ten weekly publications were authorised, but the State kept control of the daily newspapers as well as the monopoly of the televised media. When General Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali overthrew Habib Bourguiba in 1987, the “change” he promised led to control of the press and the state takeover of the advertising market (via the Tunisian External Communication Agency, ATCE) and the distribution of

© The Author(s) 2020 L. Ballarini (ed.), The Independence of the News Media, Global Transformations in Media and Communication Research - A Palgrave and IAMCR Series, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34054-4_12

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newspapers. Even though a private press market does exist, its clientelist way of functioning (funding of the private sector by political orientation of public resources) prevents it from being considered as separate from the public domain. It was not until the “Arab Spring” that a real opening-up of the media could be observed, whose triggering event (the self-­immolation of a mobile fruit and vegetable vendor) took place in Tunisia in December 2010, followed by the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, then finally the dissolution of the ATCE. Over 200 publications were then authorised. They constitute what Enrique Klaus and Olivier Koch have dubbed the Tunisian “private presses”, which have been pluralised in order to highlight the diverse nature of these daily, weekly and pure-play media. However, freedom does not necessarily mean prosperity. Today, the Tunisian media face two main challenges: the government’s attempts to keep the former players in a dominant position, and the strategies of advertising investors, who tend to favour social media sites over the traditional media. First publication: Klaus E., Koch O., 2017. “Les presses privées post-2011 en Tunisie: mutations économiques et politiques”, Questions de communication, 32, 2017, pp. 287–306. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/questionsdecom munication/11547; DOI: 10.4000/questionsdecommunication.11547 Translated by: Bianca Ng (Coup de Puce Expansion)

During the first few weeks of 2011, Tunisia, a “land without noise” (Dakhlia 2011), was going through a major shift of political paradigm. In some ways, this shift could be likened to a sort of second independence. This time of change called into question the decades of authoritarian governance in which one of the socio-political solutions, since the country

E. Klaus (*) ̇ Université Galatasaray, Istanbul, Turkey O. Koch IMREDD-URE Transitions Numériques Médias Savoirs et Territoires, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France

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gained its independence in 1956, had been a “passive and remote allegiance” between the Tunisian people and a state apparatus monopolised by a caste (Camau 1984, p. 15) in which the ruling elite sought only minimal compliance by the people with the regime’s doxa (unquestioned truths as per Pierre Bourdieu). Under these conditions, the Tunisian Revolution caused a remarkable and cathartic momentum which could be observed in digital social media as well as in the traditional media (Touati 2012a, b). As for the printed press, it led to the creation of 228 new publications in 2011.1 However, this time of nationwide revolution coincided with the global crisis threatening the printed press due to competition from internet (Poulet 2009). This led to the following paradox: at a time when newspapers are going out of business all over the world, how is it that Tunisia is embarking on a new journalistic adventure by creating its own media outlet? This paradox has only been evident since the overwhelming majority of the 228 publications printed in 2011 were quickly shut down leaving only around 50.2 Nevertheless, the question remains because, if one were to make an inventory according to the usual fault lines and patterns of continuity, an overly optimistic evaluation of the situation in Tunisia could lead one to believe that the obstacles to development of the printed press had magically disappeared with the revolution of 2011. This chapter aims to study the specific features of what appears to be a liberalisation of the Tunisian media sector from 2011 onwards. In order to do this, an ideal starting point would be the endogenous categories which have taken into account the local historical and political trends, since it is true that “public” and “private” are not necessarily mutually exclusive, disjunctively or antagonistically. This can be compared to the way in which the public sphere was created in Europe from the eighteenth century onwards (Habermas 1962). As part of this pilot study, we thus aim to highlight the case of Tunisia by looking at the history of how the private and public spheres came to be distributed, in order to document the mutations and “border shifts” of the Tunisian printed press. With this in 1  The number of publications authorised for publication in 2011 comes from the National Authority for Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC 2012, p. 59), an advisory body created in 2011 to propose reforms of the media sector following the ousting of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. 2  The current number of publications was established in the study led by the Tunisian NGO Al-Khatt and Reporters Without Borders in 2016. Link: http://tunisia.mom-rsf.org/ fr/medias/presseecrite/. Date of consultation: 27/7/2016.

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mind, the article will combine a short socio-historical overview of the so-­ called private press in Tunisia with an approach inspired by the political economy of the written media (both printed and digital) post-2011. In addition to thorough documentary research using sources in Arabic, the analysis will be based on a series of semi-directive interviews with 25 respondents, most of whom are newspaper and digital news media managers. Two additional interviews were conducted with the sales managers of competing telephone companies who are the main purchasers of private advertising.3 Any attempt to analyse the Tunisian printed press will inevitably run into certain pitfalls. Two of these are worthy of mention. Firstly, there is little research available on the print media in general, with the exception of that carried out by Sadok Hammami (2015, 2016) which gives an overview of the situation in post-Ben Ali Tunisia, and that undertaken by Fredj Zamit and Mohamed-Ali Elhaou (2015), who focused on the structures regulating the sector and the project to set up a Press Council and also a few rare articles published about the Tunisian press before 2011. Secondly, a study of the Tunisian print media in terms of its socio-economic conditions is made difficult in that the figures are not forthcoming (on print-­ runs, distribution, sales, advertising). As indicated in the Al-Khatt and Reporters without Borders Report, “newspapers are legally obliged to publish their print-run numbers. However, no newspaper does this, out of fear that it could influence advertisers and thus negatively affect their financial situation. As a result, the number of unsold copies is also unavailable and no official or independent authority checks these statistics.”4 Despite these issues, we will attempt to characterise the private press model which emerged following the protests of 2010–2011. In the first section we will give a historical perspective of the Tunisian private press, not only to underline the fact that the private model already existed before in Tunisia but also to question the substantial innovation brought about by the publications created after 2011. In the second section we will examine the socio-economic conditions under which the publications in this press segment are trying to survive, and the importance of these conditions in terms of changing the influence of political strategies on the sector. 3  The field investigation was conducted by the two authors of this chapter with the assistance of Sofien Ammar. This research project was carried out as part of the “Cultural and Media Industries in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) regions” funded by Labex ICCA (Cultural Industries and Artistic Creation). 4  Link: http://tunisia.mom-rsf.org/fr/resultats/donnees-daudience/. Date of consultation: 26/07/2016.

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A Historical Overview of the Private Press in Tunisia The origins of the private press in Tunisia date back to the colonial period. Despite never having been part of the dominant model at the time, its resilience before and after Tunisia gained its independence in 1956 was a result of the political contingencies and the relationship between colonial authorities and pro-independence activists as well as between the Tunisian government and the opposition. However, before the country became independent, Arabic (or “Muslim”, as they were referred to using colonial terminology) newspapers seemed to follow the private press model in the way that they were funded. That said, their content made them more comparable to a proto-partisan, or politically inspired, press, in that journalists were not allowed to form political parties even though they used these publications as a way of making themselves heard.5 This means that they can only be described in a very formal fashion as having been precursors to the private newspapers which emerged after 2011. In order to highlight the innovative nature of these private newspapers that were created following the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, it is necessary to review the political and economic conditions under which private entrepreneurs embarked on this journalistic endeavour, first under Habib Bourguiba (1957–1987) then under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali (1987–2011). From Gaining Independence (1956) to the “Media Spring” (1977–1985): The Private Press Under Habib Bourguiba and Unanimity as a State Doxa When Tunisia gained its independence, it marked a turning point in the way in which the press and the production of information were perceived. The press, which had once been devoted to the nationalist cause, now had to define itself again under the auspices of the post-colonial State that was being constructed: “The spirit of journalism needed to be completely renewed because the previous pattern of publishing political flyers and 5  This is also linked to the fact that, throughout the colonial period (1881–1956), this sector of the press was the main barometer of relations between the Resident-General and the Tunisian national movement. According to the figures cited by Christiane SouriauHoebrechts (1969, pp. 49–65): in 1910, there were 20 newspapers which were all suspended from 1913 to 1920 as a result of the state of emergency that was declared during the First World War. In 1921, 28 Arabic-language newspapers were published. In 1937, under the Popular Front, this figure reached a peak of 52 which then fell to 25 during the Second World War due to growing nationalist pressure. One year before independence was gained it fell again to 17.

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making demands was no longer appropriate when it came to dealing with technical problems and adopting a constructively critical approach to national governments” (Souriau-Hoebrechts 1967, p. 824). After the initial grace period following the country’s recent independence and the proclamation of the Republic (1957), Habib Bourguiba worked hard to consolidate his power by slowly eliminating the slightest hint of freedom in the press and beyond. In 1963, against the backdrop of a plot to assassinate Bourguiba, the Communist Party was abolished and its publications, Al-Talî’a (L’Avant-garde) and La Tribune du Progrès, were suspended, thus inaugurating the single-party era. Only two Arabic-­language daily newspapers remained: La Tribune du Progrès, the governing party’s newspaper,6 which also published the French-language daily newspaper L’Action, and As-Sabâh (“The Morning”), a private newspaper covering the third world. The latter was created in 1951 by Habib Cheikhrouhou, and had been brought back into publication under Bourguiba after a sixmonth suspension in 1957–1958. In this micro-­market, the press’s loyalty to the government was very much evident, as newspapers were required to follow guidelines imposed by the news agency Tunis-Afrique Presse (TAP) created in 1961 (Camau 1971, p. 33).7 The plurality, or, more precisely, duality, of the Tunisian press during that time was merely formal and “the editorials, articles and comments made by As-Sabâh simply echoed those of Al-Amal” (Souriau-Hoebrechts 1969, p. 179). Consequently, the press at the time became a “desert of conformism” (Barrouhi 1990, p. 49) and the only existing private newspaper was just a copy of the official newspaper. At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of 1980, the situation changed somewhat. In the wake of the authoritarian trend under Habib Bourguiba, who proclaimed himself President for life in 1975, and the split of PSD’s democrats, a series of events led the authorities to give in and pave the way for the emergence of a private, “free” press during what would later be known as the “Tunisian media spring”. In terms of the press, in 1976, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) turned its internal newspaper with a print-run of 5000 copies into a weekly, national publication with a print-run of 100,000 copies, using its own presses and distribution networks. According to Rachida Ennaïfer, a former journalist for La Presse de Tunisie (1976–1990) and president of the Tunisian Journalists’ Association (1980–1984), this “had a ripple effect on the rest of the region’s newspapers”,8 thus paving the way for the arrival of the free  The Neo Destour became the Socialist Destourian Party (PSD) in October 1964.  For a socio-historical analysis of the TAP news agency, see E. Klaus (2017). 8  Interview with Rachida Ennaïfer, La Presse Hors-série (conducted by Hédia Baraket and Olfa Belhassine), May 2012, p. 8. 6 7

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press. On a political level, against the backdrop of a social crisis caused by the abrupt shake-up of the country’s economic policy, the UGTT and the government were engaged in a violent conflict which culminated in the “Black Thursday” on 26 January 1978. On that day, a general strike was called which, according to official sources, resulted in 51 people being shot and killed by the army and police. Two years later, the “Gafsa incident” which took place on 26 and 27 January 1980, during which an armed commando supported by Libya seized this southern Tunisian city, made it clear that the political game needed to be opened up in order to avoid a violent conflict which could prove fatal to the regime. This was especially reflected by the appointment of Prime Minister Ahmed Mzali (1980–1987) who was known for his liberal stances. With Habib Bourguiba’s approval, Ahmed Mzali based his actions on a sort of openness (infitâh), especially towards the trade union leaders who had been dismissed following Black Thursday and the banned, but tolerated, opposition parties and the press. In fact, the “Tunisian media spring” consisted mainly of permission being granted for around ten newspapers to be published, most of which were “private”, including Er-raï (L’Opinion, 1977) which was edited by the PSD’s liberal rebels, Le Phare (1980), Al-Maghreb (“The Maghreb”, 1981) and two or three others published by opposition parties. These included Al-Mustaqbal (“The Future” by the Movement of Socialist Democrats, 1980) and At-tarîq al-jadîd (“The New Route” by the Tunisian Communist Party, 1981). This editorial and political phenomenon was sparked by a misleading liberalisation, against the backdrop of a leader being overthrown, or an “authoritarian decompression process” (Bayart 1991) which is defined as “having been taken from the theme of liberal democracy—especially by resorting to the competitive practice of universal suffrage—to ensure the regulation of the political class to benefit the head of state, by guaranteeing him the utmost autonomy from it and by granting him the role of supreme arbitrator” (ibid.: 12). Within this arrangement, the print media played a crucial role: the opposition’s access to the columns of the only weekly press appeared to be a substitute for an effective opening-up of the institutional arenas, whereas the regime maintained control of daily newspapers; also, television, monopolised by the state and by Habib Bourguiba, who made daily televised speeches, was becoming an increasingly popular medium. During this same period, the main newspapers were essentially proto-­ partisan publications which were obliged to adopt a commercial strategy due to the fact that they were forbidden to form political parties and due to the struggles of surviving in a limited and structurally confined market:

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For them, it was a matter of seeking out the most engaging and hard-hitting subjects which can sometimes lead to national scandals being exposed, interviews with public figures who are not allowed to be quoted in that country, etc. In this respect, their objective was two-fold—on the one hand, they needed to mark their oppositional territory at all costs by distinguishing themselves from the publications which showed the government in a positive light and, on the other hand, explore new and challenging subjects in order to increase newspaper sales. (Chouikha 2004, p. 350)

The “media spring” lasted more or less a decade, with ups and downs, publication suspensions, administrative complications and even prison sentences for editors. After the coup d’état of 1987, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali did not initially criticise this colourful blooming of the private press. As Zied Krichen, head and editor-in-chief of Al-Maghreb (which re-entered circulation in 2012), revealed in an interview, it was almost as though this opening-up of the press intensified in parallel with the start of the Ben Ali era: “There was a decade of relative freedom of expression, with some taboos of course—you could never mention the President. That said, compared to our Moroccan or Egyptian neighbours, we were ahead of our time. That was before we crossed a sort of desert for 20 years.”9 From “Change” to the “Revolution” of 2011: The Private Press Under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and the Structural Obstacles Impeding Liberalisation of the Sector On 7 November 1987, General Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who had been appointed prime minister the previous month, overthrew Habib Bourguiba and declared his leadership in the name of “change”. The actual details of this new political paradigm remained unclear until the end of his time in power. Until 1989, Tunisia experienced a relative opening-up of the press which was confirmed by the re-emergence of certain newspapers from the “media spring” which had been suspended during the 1990s. But this opening-up was doomed to fail. While taking advantage of certain events linked to the Movement of Islamic Tendency (MTI)10 and the upheavals 9  Interview conducted by the authors with Zied Krichen, head and editor-in-chief of Al-Maghreb (“The Maghreb”), Tunis, 02/02/2016. 10  The MTI changed its name to Ennahdha in 1988, in the hope of entering the political arena. For more on this, see Elbaki Hermassi (Hermassi 1989). Ennahdha became the Islamic party that won the first post-Ben Ali elections in October 2011 and led a coalition government from 2012 to 2014 alongside the centre-left Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol. This three-party coalition is known as the Troïka.

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in Tunisia resulting from the Second Gulf War in 1991, the regime called time on the tentative press freedoms and tightened its grip accordingly. During this period, the press was under increasingly tight control, firstly with the adoption of circumstantial measures and then with the implementation of structural reforms which would lock down the sector. The warning signs of these measures could be seen in the confiscation of certain issues of newspapers, which then led to the outright ban of several publications. This was often accompanied by the imprisonment of their editors11 and the introduction of prior censorship—an unprecedented notion in the history of the Tunisian press. At the same time, confirming a trend that began in the 1980s, the private press was reduced to producing tabloids whose headlines were edited by those who were loyal to the regime and who specialised in defaming its opponents and human rights activists.12 From a structural point of view, two key elements ensured the lock down of editorial opinion, thus preventing the emergence, under Zine el-­ Abidine Ben Ali, of a viable private press which was independent of the State and partisan groups. These two elements were control of the advertising market and control of newspaper distribution. This lock down was overseen by Abdelwahhab Abdallah, former CEO of the company which published the government newspapers La Presse de Tunisie and As-Sahâfa (1979–1986), the official TAP agency (1986–1987), then Minister of Information (1987–1988). Abdelwahhab Abdallah was the main architect of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s media system of which the Tunisian External Communication Agency (ATCE) was the centrepiece. The mission of ATCE, which was created in August 1990 under a secretive Act which did not go into any details about its structuring and which referred to many decrees which were never promulgated,13 was essentially to promote 11  Among the editors that were imprisoned were Omar Sahbou, founder of Al-Maghreb who had already served several prison sentences under Bourguiba, Hamma Hammami, the current leader of the radical left and editor of Al-Badîl (“The Alternative”) and Hamadi Jebali, editor of the Islamic publication Al-Fajr (“The Aurore”) and future prime minister of the Troïka (2011–2013). For more on this, see the testimonials taken at the Tunis Centre for Press Freedom (CTLP), 2013. 12  In its report, INRIC (2012, p. 58) counted an average of two defamatory articles per week in 2011 in newspapers such as Koul En-nâs (“All People”), Les Annonces, Al-Hadîth (“The Events”) and As-Sarîh (“The Franc”). 13  Act of 7 August 1990 based on the creation of the External Communication Agency, Journal officiel de la République tunisienne, no. 52, 10 August 1990, p. 1032. Link: http:// www.cnudst.rnrt.tn/jortsrc/1990/1990f/jo05290.pdf. Date of consultation: 02/12/2014.

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Tunisia’s image abroad. It carried out this mission in many different ways, notably by funding literature praising Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, organising strictly supervised press visits and coaching members of the regime to undermine the arguments of opponents who were invited onto talk shows on transnational pan-Arab television channels.14 Without a clear legal status, ATCE soon became a shady propaganda entity. Beyond its main mission, ATCE’s control over the national media was based on managing public and institutional advertising. According to several ATCE agents interviewed by INRIC (2012, p. 153), the decision to oblige the ministries, public and semi-public companies, that were the main purveyors of advertising inserts, to hand over their communication budget to ATCE, was based on a simple circular issued in 1991 which thus allowed the agency to manage this huge sum as it pleased, at its own discretion and according to the loyalty of the Tunisian newspapers. We can note here the impertinence of an overly clear-cut distinction between public and private, the originality of which lies in the clientelist funding of the private sector through the siphoning off of public resources. The second structural element of the Tunisian press lock down could be found in the near-monopoly of newspaper distribution by two companies. The first, Sotupresse, specialised in the distribution of foreign newspapers in Tunisia and imposed excessive fees for national publications. The second was a secretive company which went by the name of its owner, Messaoud Daadaa. The elusiveness of this man fuelled various rumours in press circles about him and the power he held. For some, he was “a creation of Ben Ali who massacred journalism in Tunisia for almost forty years”,15 for others, “he was both judge and jury, [...] we know that he was a shareholder of As-Sarîh and was involved in a key partnership, I believe, with Ach-Chorouq which could only hurt the other newspapers”.16 In short, “this was a character surrounded by mystery and feared by national newspapers. Some claim to have seen him, if only briefly, once in their

14  Despite the controversy surrounding its discontinued publication, (the PDF having been leaked beforehand), the “Black Book of journalists” contains several examples of training sessions to counter the arguments of opponents on pan-Arab television platforms. See the Presidency of the Republic of Tunisia (2013). 15  Interview conducted by the authors with Walid Mejri, editor-in-chief of Akher Sâ‘a (“Final Hour”), Tunis, 08/02/2016. 16  Interview conducted by the authors with Zied Krichen, head and editor-in-chief of Al-Maghreb (“The Maghreb”), Tunis, 02/02/2016.

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lives. Others, who are far fewer in number, boast of having been close to him and consider having spent time with him a privilege.”17 Regardless of these theories about Messaoud Daadaa, several press owners and/or editors-in-chief have complained about his monopoly over the distribution in Grand Tunis which represents around 50–60% of the Tunisian market, according to their own estimates. Heir to the family business which was created in 1903 and suspended from 1964 to 1972 (during the socially oriented period of Bourguibian politics), he returned to business after having worked for the newspaper La Presse de Tunisie, which he left when Abdelwahhab Abdallah was CEO in order to take over the family business (ibid.). Over the years, he built up a monopoly through his network of newsstand workers who were all the more loyal to him because, in a country overly determined by regionalism, they came from the same region and the same tribe in southern Tunisia.18 According to an investigation carried out by Nawaat, Messaoud Daadaa’s network consisted of 148 distributors and almost 2400 points of sale in Tunis. On the strength of this territorial network and in the absence of transparency in this sector, Messaoud Daadaa organised (and would continue to do so) distribution in any way he pleased. Mohammed al-Hamrouni, editor-in-­ chief of Al-Dhamîr (“The Conscience”, an Islamic daily newspaper that became a weekly publication in 2016), reports that a wide range of techniques were used to regulate newspaper distribution for the benefit of those close to the regime, ranging from the outright withdrawal of certain publications from kiosks to “limited distribution”, a procedure whereby far fewer copies of a given newspaper were supplied to a kiosk depending on how many of that same newspaper were sold the day before at the same point of sale.19 According to Nawaat’s investigation, Messaoud Daadaa was passing the unfair competition demands of certain press owners on to newspaper retailers, including those of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s son-in-­ law, Sakhr El-Materi, who had taken 70% of the shares of the daily As-Sabah (“The Morning”) in 2009, and had demanded that Messaoud Daadaa

17  Henda Chennaoui, “Distribution: Daadaa, le vieux démon de la presse”, Nawaat.org, 04/03/2013. Link: http://nawaat.org/portail/2013/03/04/distribution-daadaa-le-vieuxdemon-de-la-presse/. 18  According to several interviewees. 19  Interview conducted by the authors with Mohammed al-Hamrounî, editor-in-chief of Al-Dhamîr (“The Conscience”), Tunis, 22/07/2016.

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reduce the returns (of unsold copies) by 50% to 30%. Messaoud Daadaa therefore made vendors pay for these returns themselves.20 In anticipation of the next part of this chapter, let us examine the continuity of this sector of activity, despite the dawning of the Tunisian Revolution. Five years after the revolution, six private press groups,21 faced with the persistence of Messaoud Daadaa’s unethical actions, decided to create the Coopérative de distribution (CDD) to ensure their newspapers could be distributed under optimal conditions. CDD was not the first attempt to bypass Messaoud Daadaa. In 1984, the opinion newspapers of the “media spring” had tried to create a similar cooperative to ensure the distribution of their newspapers and of UGTT’s Ach-cha’b (“The People”), but this proved unsuccessful following UGTT’s discontinuation the following year (Chouikha 2004, p. 349). In 2016, Messaoud Daadaa took retaliatory measures against the future CDD and boycotted the distribution of seven daily newspapers. Once again, the independent distribution attempt was a failure. In July 2016, CDD had to cease its activities, faced with the categorical refusal by kiosks loyal (although they did not have much choice) to Messaoud Daadaa, to accept deliveries. Now that we have reached the end of this historical introduction, it is clear that it is difficult to identify privately funded newspapers that were neither springboards for the creation of a partisan structure nor instruments for conveying the democratic image that the Tunisian authoritarian regime was trying to cultivate. The only exceptions were the pioneering “pure players” of the Tunisian electronic media which emerged in the first decade of the 2000s, such as WebManager, Business News or Kapitalis. In theory, these companies specialised in niche markets of economic information or information and communication technologies (ICT) and their political agenda became more explicit after 2011 when it adopted an occasionally basic, opposition stance against the Islamists, not without claiming to restore traditions. As for the print media, it was only after the protest movements of 2011 that led to the fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, that a private press that was not exploited either by the government or by a political current was able to emerge. As part of a cathartic and unprecedented movement in Tunisia, around 228 publications were authorised.  Henda Chennaoui, “Distribution: Daadaa, le vieux démon de la presse”, art. cit.  The five private press groups who decided to create CDD were: Grand Maghreb Media SA, Maghreb Media Réalités, Dar Akher Khabar, Dar Al Binaa, Dar El-Fajr d’impression et de diffusion and Dar Assabah. Link: http://kapitalis.com/tunisie/2016/03/10/ des-editeurs-de-journaux-se-liguent-contre-messaoud-daadaa/. 20 21

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These included 17 daily publications (15 of which were private) and 103 weekly publications (91 of which were private) among which there were a few companies who had served the old regime and who had decided to revamp by changing their titles and becoming key players in the revolution (INRIC 2012, p. 59). Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of these publications were only able to publish a few copies and their short life spans ranged from three to six months.

Economic Fragility and Political Supervision: The Private Press Post-2011 The liberalisation of the print media after Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s departure enabled new players to enter the Tunisian information market. This could be seen in the increase in the number of newspapers and news websites. However, in this larger market, the newly acquired freedoms did not usher in an era of prosperity. Some of the publications which were created during the “revolution” gradually disappeared. Among these new arrivals, it was unlikely that they managed to establish sufficient financial stability to ensure their survival. These difficulties affected not only the more recent publications but the entire sector. The impact of the economic crisis in Tunisia could also be felt in the print media through a drop in advertising revenue. For the vast majority of newspapers, this drop was not counter-balanced by an increase in single-issue or subscription sales (Hammami 2015). During this time of economic instability, press funding along political lines was reconsidered and reconceptualised by press owners. The dynamics of political recomposition that the country has been through since 2011 were thus felt throughout the sector and constitute as many competitive dividing lines separating the stakeholders in the press media. Weaknesses of the Tunisian Economy and Uncompensated Drops in Revenue Newspaper owners interviewed during the investigation on which this chapter is based, all reported great difficulty in maintaining the financial balance of their companies. For them, the years following 2011 were a time of major economic crisis threatening their profession. This crisis led to a rise in spending and the stagnation, reduction and, in some cases, disappearance of financial resources.

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The rise in fixed spending was a direct result of inflation, which increased by 1.3 between 2011 and 2015, with a sharp rise from 2011 to 2013 (+2.2).22 This matched up with the so-called transition period which took place under the Ennahdha-led coalition government. The Tunisian dinar depreciated significantly against the dollar and the euro between 2012 and 2016, which played a role in reducing the purchasing power of manufacturers for imported products (raw materials and semi-finished products). The products used to manufacture newspapers, such as ink and paper, have gradually become more and more expensive for newspaper companies, leading to an increase in spending, which according to the press owners interviewed has not been offset by an increase in revenue from advertising, subscriptions or single-issue sales. This means some companies have been more at risk than others, especially those for which printing and paper are the main budget expenditure item. Al-Maghreb spends 40% of its total budget on these items, followed by the staff payroll (30–35%), fixed costs (10–12%) including housing, transport, electricity and employers’ social contributions (13–20%).23 The same applies for the weekly publication Ach-Charî‘al-Maghribî (“The Maghreb Street”) which spent most of its budget on these items, closely followed by staff wages.24 Newspapers with their own printing facilities, such as Le Quotidien and Ach-Chourouk (“The Aurora”) and for which the staff payroll was the main expenditure item, were less affected. The online press, notably the (mainly French-speaking) “pure players” in our corpus, were less affected by the shift in these variables. The company payroll is the main item of expenditure, followed by the editorial staff’s taxes or rent, depending on the publication. Due to the lower number of employees, far less is spent on this than in the print media. According to the samples taken, this difference in spending between the two types of press is at a ratio of 1 to 5. The average number of employees (including tenured journalists, freelancers, technicians and administrative staff) is 12 among the “pure players”, compared to 54 in the print media, with the exception of those who have sometimes reduced their initial staff by up to one-third to cope with the drop in revenues, such as Le Quotidien and 22  Link: http://donnees.banquemondiale.org/indicateur/FP.CPI.TOTL.ZG?locations= TN. Date of consultation: 07/09/2016. 23  Estimate by Zied Krichen. Interview with the authors, Tunis, 02/02/2016. 24   Estimate by its owner, Khaouther Zantour, interview with the authors, Tunis, 08/03/2016.

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Al-Dhamîr.25 The cost of information production for the online press is significantly lower, mainly because it involves desk journalism, or “sit-­ down journalism”, which does not incur the same costs as for the collection of information (field reporting and transport) and, of course, because there are no printing expenses. According to their owners’ estimates and for these reasons, “pure players” such as Kapitalis, Business News, Webdo and the Webmanagercenter platform’s publications would be less directly affected by changes in inflation affecting their operating costs. Our interviews show that the fall in advertising revenue has been one of the main consequences of the crisis affecting the sector since 2011. The print media depends to a great extent on this type of resource. As for the “pure players”, they depend entirely on it, seeing as they do not sell articles individually and do not offer subscriptions. They also do not have specific arrangements with the communication companies, such as YouTube, to receive payments based on the number of hits the videos on their sites receive. Only the Huffington Post Maghreb-Tunisia (whose particular model is based on an exchange of content with the parent company of the American Huffington Post) has implemented an alternative method of remuneration to the publication of advertisements. Specific sections in dedicated tabs, known as “brain pages”, have been created to publish journalistic information on topics (and not products) of interest to advertisers. Journalists add content to these sections, creating what Samia Sherif, the site’s owner, describes as the equivalent of “a small thematic magazine”26 which is funded by these advertisers. With the exception of the Huffington Post Maghreb-Tunisia’s “brain pages”, French “pure players” depend entirely on advertising revenue. The same generally applies for printed newspapers but to a slightly lesser extent. According to their owners’ estimates, advertising represents an average of 45% of the newspapers’ total revenue, followed by issue sales (40%) and subscriptions (10–15%). These estimates would have to be compared according to each individual newspaper to take into account the (sometimes very significant) differences between advertising investments from which each publication benefits.27 The differences should also be measured for all print media 25  Since 2013, the number of employees at Le Quotidien and Al-Dhamîr has been close to that of similar online publications. 26  Interview conducted by the authors with Samie Sherif, head of the Huffington Post Maghreb-Tunisia, Tunis, 14/02/2016. 27  As an example of these discrepancies, the head of Ach-Charî’ al-Maghribî reports that the newspaper has not attracted any advertisers since its creation in 2015. Khaouther Zantour, interview with the authors, Tunis, 08/03/2016.

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publications, in order to assess what distinguishes the new arrivals (post-2011) from the older publications in terms of how advertising investment is distributed. This “first hand” observation and the press owners’ unanimous observation of a sharp fall in advertising revenue contradict the figures provided by Sigma Conseil, one of the main media and “public opinion” research firms in Tunisia.28 According to a 2016 report (on the year 2015), advertising investment in Tunisia generally increased by 12.5% compared to the previous year across all sectors except billboards. Television, which represents 62.3% of the total investment, was the most lucrative sector, followed by radio at 14.5%. Investment in the print media represented 10% of the market (22.1 million dinars) and has increased by 8.7%. Online advertising has also increased by 14.7% but remains limited to 2.7% of the overall amount. From 2010 to 2015, advertising investment, across all media outlets, increased by 34.1 million dinars.29 However, the data provided by this research firm should be handled with caution, as the investment figures in Tunisian dinars are estimates based on each media outlet’s pricing grid. Sigma Conseil estimates the number of published advertisements, then multiplies them by the prices indicated in these grids. This means that direct negotiations between advertisers and newspaper companies are not taken into account. That said, according to the president of the Tunisian Federation of Newspaper Directors (FTDJ), Taïeb Zahar, these negotiations have regularly pulled prices down to their lowest since 2012.30 These prices therefore do not compensate for the increase in fixed costs. As for Réalités, the publication which he owns, Taïeb Zahar states that advertising prices have remained more or less the same since 2011 and have not been proportionately affected by inflation. According to his summary of feedback from FTDJ members, all those involved in the sector are in the same situation. Advertisers, who are also exposed to the national economic crisis, opt  Sigma Conseil is often criticised for the links between its director Hassan Zargouni’ and the former regime and with the leaders of the ruling Nidaa Tounès party, but remains the most frequently cited polling institute by commentators and professionals in the sector. 29  These figures are estimates reported in the online document Open sigma 2016. Link: http://www.e-sigmaconseil.com/open2016/sigma1/sigma1.html#p=6. Date of consultation: 15/01/2017. 30  Interview conducted by the authors with Taïeb Zahar, head of the FTDJ and editor-inchief of Réalités, Tunis, 23/03/2016. 28

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more systematically for monthly or annual advertising packages which are negotiated from a strong bargaining position. Similarly to the “pure players” in our corpus, print media owners tend to accept these conditions with the aim of achieving financial stability in the medium term, even if this means substantially lowering their prices. Any estimate based on the calculation of advertising publication according to a non-renegotiable, unit price can thus only fall short of actual figures. This first observation concludes by putting Sigma Conseil’s advertising investment figures in Tunisian dinars into perspective. It is important to highlight another factor concerning how these figures are established and confirmed. Certain press directors interviewed, reported that they were contacted each year by Sigma Conseil’s management to obtain confirmation of their estimates. Before the final drafts of these reports are written, the figures are thus usually checked against those provided by press owners. According to the testimonials given during the interviews, the press owners tend to confirm estimates in the highest brackets in order to make their publications or sectors more attractive to advertisers. However, in the print media, newspapers do not usually make their sales figures public (with the exception of Al-Dhamîr). This means that advertisers cannot estimate the value of their advertisements in these publications based on realistic distribution figures. It is therefore not in the interest of print media owners to reduce Sigma Conseil’s estimates, which, in this case, operate in the same way as a rating agency on a market lacking certified data. It is difficult to explain the contradiction between the increase in advertising investment quantified by Sigma Conseil from 2011 to 2016 and the drop in advertising revenue reported by press owners. One hypothesis might explain these seemingly contradictory elements. In its 2012 report, INRIC noted a significant increase in the number of print media publications following the departure of President Ben Ali. Similarly, certain “pure players” such as the Huffington Post Maghreb-Tunisia and Webdo were created after this time and obtained a share of advertising investment (even though this was in a very small proportion for Webdo). While advertising investment has increased, it is likely that this has been more widespread in a market with more players, which would explain the decline in advertising revenue reported by the press owners interviewed. This would make it possible to explain part of the economic crisis hitting the print media after 2011, based on the effects of liberalisation.

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Political Control and Influencing of the Print Media After 2011 Under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, advertising resources from public companies were redistributed to media outlets by ATCE according to their loyalty and docility (see above). Subscriptions taken out by public administrations, and the purchase of classified ads in these newspapers, were guided by the same strategy of political control over the sector. These sources of revenue, especially subscriptions, ensured substantial income for the publications benefiting from them which, in turn, contributed to their economic sustainability. With the fall of Ben Ali’s regime and the dissolution of ATCE,31 the challenge of funding the private print media became even more acute. The influence of politics on the sector by means of economic “levers”, far from having disappeared after the “revolution”, was still effective in an albeit more decentralised fashion. This stranglehold was maintained through the distribution of advertising investment under various terms and conditions. Zied Krichen, head of Al-Maghreb, reported on the financial difficulties facing his newspaper between 2012 and 2014 due to the fall in advertising revenue. In 2012, he explains, “we were seen as fundamentally anti-Troïka and, seeing as the Troïka was in power, certain press owners were intimidated by this”.32 According to this interpretation, the fear of certain newspaper companies that the “regime” in power at the time (which was often criticised by Al-Maghreb) would react in a hostile manner, would explain their decision not to feature advertisements in their publications. From this point of view, Al-Maghreb’s financial instability during this time was linked to advertisers’ anticipation of political reprisals. This interpretation would suggest that the Ben Ali regime’s legacy still played a significant role in the advertisers’ decision-making. The control that certain parties held over the print media was enforced via both the advertising market and advertising agencies. During an interview, the owner of the newspaper Al-Dhamîr highlighted the role of these agencies which, according to him, gave priority in their advertising distribution to publications which shared their political agenda. The agency Karoui & Karoui, run by two brothers, one of whom sat on the founding 31  From the end of January 2011 onwards, the first transitional government announced the dissolution of ATCE and its placement under judicial supervision. It was officially dissolved on 18 December 2012, under the Troïka. 32  Interview conducted by the authors with Zied Krichen, Tunis, 02/02/2016. To remind the reader, Troïka is the nickname given to the coalition government led by the Islamic Ennahdha party alongside the CPR and Ettakatol.

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committee of the Nidaa Tounès Party of the president at the time, Béji Caïd-Essebsi, thus deliberately dismissed Al-Dhamîr, which was closer to Ennahdha in terms of political views. According to Mohammed Hamrouni, the political bias of such agencies helped maintain the dominant position of the older stakeholders who were already present under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali: “You only need to open Al-Maghreb or Al-Dhamîr to notice there are no advertisements. There are only monopolies left. They take telecoms, [mobile phone service providers] Oreedoo, Orange, the major communications and automotive companies, those with the biggest budgets and who are willing to pay.”33 The managers of Al-Dhamîr, like those of Al-Maghreb, chose to go straight to the major advertising heads and negotiate with them directly without the intermediary advertising agencies. This bypassing strategy required the development of sales and negotiating skills which press owners may not necessarily have had, seeing as they initially entered the profession as journalists. Since 2011, several newspapers have lost revenue from public subscriptions. According to the interpretation of certain newspaper owners, ministries, banks, public and semi-public companies depending on the State were manipulated, during the changes taking place within the government, to get them to sanction newspapers and reward others based on their political agenda. These same newspapers were also deprived of “classified ads”, advertisements which these organisations paid to publish in the press to advertise their activities or launch calls for tender. These economic levers, which had already been used under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, had repercussions, which certain actors consider to be substantial, on the viability of their newspapers. Taïeb Zahar is one of these owners who, under the Troïka, and for exclusively political reasons, lost this type of funding: The Troïka decided to cut off public funding to the print media [...]. I’m talking about subscriptions from the State, the ministries, public companies and what are known as ‘classified ads’. As for subscriptions, they said “subscriptions are forbidden”. “We’re going to buy from newsstands”. First, they reduced the number of beneficiaries. Then, they said “we’re going to buy from newspaper vendors”. With that, we lost 4000 subscriptions, that is, around 70% of our sales revenue.34  Interview conducted by the authors with Mohammed al-Hamrounî, head of Al-Dhamîr, Tunis, 22/07/2016. 34  Interview conducted by the authors with Taïeb Zahar, editor-in-chief of Réalités, Tunis, 23/03/2016. 33

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This drop in revenue, according to Taïeb Zahar’s interpretation, was a result of the choice made by Ennahdha in 2013 to financially penalise newspapers who were against their policies.35 If we consider what has been said by other press owners, this has consistently been the case during the political changes which have taken place since 2011. According to Mohammed Hamrouni, Al-Dhamîr was also removed from the public subscriptions and classified ads market. Under Béji Caïd-Essebsi’s presidency, no administration subscribed to his newspaper, which he states would nevertheless have been sufficient to ensure its financial stability: For ministries, it’s the same. They buy 1000 to 1500 copies of As-Sahîfa. Imagine how many ministries there are. Around twenty. If each one bought 50 copies of Al-Dhamîr, the problem would be solved. That’s 50x20 = 10,000 copies for a daily publication. If you seal that deal, you have nothing to worry about. But instead of that, the opposite happened.36

On the basis of these field survey elements and these criticisms of the partisan strategies that have conditioned the economy of the print media, it is both difficult and hazardous to attempt a definitive and objective description of the changes in political control over the post-2011 press sector. The rationales and choices of political actors or advertisers should, to this end, be studied and compared with the interpretations given by press owners during our interviews. These would involve them revealing strategies that are rarely confessed. We thus prefer to estimate this data from a different and probably less ambitious perspective, from a heuristic point of view. These critical statements and rhetoric are elements of the “(re)politicization” of the press sector according to its stakeholders, along lines of continuity and discontinuity with the “old regime”. Some advertisers’ perceptions of this sector have enabled us to shed more light on the stakes involved in its funding. Marketing and advertising heads at Tunisie Telecom and Orange Tunisia37 confirm, each at their own level, that there was a general decrease in the overall amount of their advertising budgets allocated to the media between 2011 and 2016. According to them, this decrease was a reflection of the “difficult” and “complex” 35  There is no evidence to support Taieb Zahar’s interpretation. Indeed, nothing can prove that the Ennahdha-led public administrations did not cancel their subscriptions for budgetary reasons, for example. 36  Interview conducted by the authors with Mohammed al-Hamrounî, editor-in-chief of Al-Dhamîr (“The Conscience”), Tunis, 22/07/2016. 37  Our interviewees wished to remain anonymous.

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national economic context. However, this context was not as fundamentally important as it appears if we consider the choices made by these advertisers to allocate part of their advertising loans to one type of media rather than another. The print media is considered to be far less attractive than it was during the 2000s. The Orange Tunisia and Tunisie Telecom sales managers that we interviewed put this down to several factors. They believe that the lack of reliable sales figures, which is definitely not new, is due to an “unwillingness” from those in the press sector. On this point, our contact at Orange Tunisia says he wants to obtain “real figures” in order to be able to more accurately assess the impact of the ads published in this press. The print media is considered to be “disappointing”, and the print quality to be “poor”, which distorts the creative work of marketing teams and reduces the effectiveness of advertising. This criticism also applies to the online press, which they criticise for not being sufficiently creative. The sales manager at Tunisie Telecom complains that “the banners on news sites have been the same for years”, which prevents the use of new marketing techniques. Finally, these professionals point out the new ways of accessing the news on social media. According to them, these new developments have led to part of the readership switching from the national print media to internet. This observation is backed up by the partial transfer, to Facebook, of adverts which had previously been intended for this print media. The Orange Tunisia sales manager stated that the company spent 1% of its total advertising budget (all media combined) on Facebook advertising in 2014. Two years later, that figure had risen to 5%. The point of view of advertisers on the Tunisian print media is very revealing. It enables us to consider the crisis that has hit the press sector since 2011, from another angle. From the point of view of these marketing and advertising professionals, this crisis is not political but exclusively economic. According to them, the decrease in advertising investment in this press is due to its low returns in terms of communication. Their readership figures are considered to be insufficiently quantified and qualified, and their editorial choices to be poorly synchronised with advertisers’ marketing strategies. More generally, the way information is now being accessed indicates that print media are likely to decline and disappear in time. In short, the advertisers’ perspective reminds us that the crisis hitting the sector also depends on cross-sectoral dynamics linked to the challenges of digitisation and the difficulty of stabilising an economic model during this period of editorial transition. This instability has been an aggravating factor in Tunisia’s economic and political situation since 2011.

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Conclusion This review of historical developments has enabled us to justify the use of the plural form in the title, namely “private presses”, whose continuity has depended on the political use that have been made of them. During the 1980s, the “free press” covered a very wide range of realities, from private groups stricto sensu to opposition political parties, whose common denominator could be found both outside the State apparatus and under its supervision. Today, the term “private press” seems to have replaced “independent press”. However, the term still encompasses very different realities. As-Sabah, one of the oldest press groups in Tunisia, is thus included, despite the fact that it was placed under the supervision of a State administrator. With the alibi of the illusion of liberalisation under Habib Bourguiba, reinstated by Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in the early 1990s, the private press sector was built under the supervision or, in the best of cases, in the shadow of the government. The question of the extent to which the post-2011 liberalisation of the printed press has broken free of the supervisory policies that applied under the previous regimes, remains open. The aforementioned works of Sadok Hammami and the investigation presented in this chapter attest to a redeployment of political control over the sector through financial levers, some of which were already in use under the former regime. In the long term, the vulnerability of this sector to the political situation should be analysed in relation to the specificities of its entrepreneurship.

References Barrouhi, A. (1990). Demain, la démocratie ? Communication et politique sous Bourguiba. Tunis: Afkar wa Ich’haar. Bayart, J.-F. (1991). La problématique de la démocratie en Afrique noire. “La Baule, et puis après” ? Politique africaine, 43, 5–20. http://www.politiqueafricaine.com/numeros/pdf/043005.pdf. Camau, M. (1971). Le discours politique de légitimité des élites tunisiennes. Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord, 10, 25–68. http://aan.mmsh.univ-aix.fr/volumes/1971/Pages/AAN-1971-10_23.aspx. Camau, M. (1984). L’État tunisien: de la tutelle au désengagement. Portée et limite d’une trajectoire. Monde arabe Maghreb-Machrek, 103, 8–38. Chouikha, L. (2004). Pluralisme politique et presse d’opposition sous Bourguiba. In M.  Camau & V.  Geisser (Eds.), Habib Bourguiba, la trace et l’héritage (pp. 341–356). Paris: Karthala. Dakhlia, J. (2011). Tunisie. Le pays sans bruit. Arles: Actes Sud.

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Habermas, J. (1962). Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, Darmstadt: Luchterhand. English edition: Habermas, J. (1989). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hammami, S. (2015). La presse tunisienne: transformations et continuités. Revue tunisienne de communication, 63(64), 5–38. Hammami, S. (ed) (2016). La presse écrite: crise ou mutations ? Conference proceedings, Tunis: IPSI/KAS-Tunis. Hermassi, E. (1989). L’État tunisien et le mouvement islamiste Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord, 28, 297–308. http://aan.mmsh.univ-aix.fr/volumes/1989/Pages/AAN-1989-28_19.aspx. INRIC (National Authority for Reform of Information and Communication). (2012). Rapport général de l’Instance de la réforme de l’information et de la communication. Tunis, Sept. http://www.inric.tn/rapports/fr/flip/index.html. Klaus, E. (2017). La restauration autoritaire au prisme des instruments de propagande. Le cas de l’agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP). Politique africaine, 146, 49–71. Poulet, B. (2009). La Fin des journaux et l’avenir de l’information. Paris: Gallimard. Présidence de la République tunisienne – Bureau of information and communication. (2013). Le Système de la propagande sous le règne de Ben Ali: Le Livre noir (in Arabic). https://www.fichier-pdf.fr/2013/12/03/livre-noir/. Souriau-Hoebrechts, C. (1967). L’opinion dans la presse maghrébine arabe de 1966. Annuaire de l’Afrique du Nord, 5, 823–853. http://aan.mmsh.univ-aix. fr/volumes/1966/Pages/AAN-1966-05_35.aspx. Souriau-Hoebrechts, C. (1969). La Presse maghrébine. Libye, Tunisie, Maroc, Algérie. Paris: CNRS Éditions, 1975. Touati, Z. (2012a). La révolution tunisienne: interactions entre militantisme de terrain et mobilisation des réseaux sociaux. L’Année du Maghreb, VIII, 121–141. https://anneemaghreb.revues.org/1426. Touati, Z. (2012b). Presse et révolution en Tunisie: rôle, enjeux et perspectives. ESSACHESS – Journal for Communication Studies, 5/1(9), 139–150. http:// www.essachess.com/index.php/jcs/article/view/155/140. Tunis Centre for Press Freedom. (2013). Sahâfîûn tûnisîûn fî muwâjahat al-­ diktâtûrîa. Thalâth wa-‘ishrûn sana min al-qam‘ wa-l-tadhlîl (Tunisian journalists under the dictatorship. Thirty years of repression and misinformation). Tunis: Tunis Centre for Press Freedom. Zamit, F., & Elhaou, M-A. (2015). Les tentatives d’institutionnalisation d’un conseil de presse face aux logiques des acteurs. Conference La Presse écrite: crise ou mutations? Tunis: Institute of Press and Information Sciences, 20–22 April.

CHAPTER 13

Fortune and Misfortune of the Egyptian Private Press: Sociohistorical Study of a Place of Production of Information Bachir Benaziz

The opening up of the Egyptian press is not linked to the “Arab Spring” revolutionary movement but goes back to the 1990s and a specific form of alliance between businessmen who were nevertheless close to the regime and young journalists. To explain how this convergence took place, Bachir Benaziz uses Michel de Certeau’s idea of a “place of production”, which enables us to understand how a type of journalistic message can slot into a particular historical situation. Journalism in Egypt flourished after the country regained its independence in 1922 and became a republic in 1953. However, the decades that followed were marked by a gradual restriction of the freedom of the press. At the start of the 1990s, in a context of increasing limitation of the system of representation (political parties, media), a significant part of the population underwent what de Certeau calls a “spiritual emigration”, a transition which was conveyed in the editorial line of new newspapers. Although financed by businessmen who owed their success to the regime, these newspapers, which were

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run by young journalists and initially edited from abroad (Cyprus mainly), paid special attention to social movements, human rights organisations and associations, while keeping their distance from official sources. Two examples illustrate this development: the weekly newspaper al-Dustour and the daily newspaper al-Massry al-Youm. Founded in 1995, the aim of al-Dustour was to fight against “obscurantism” and enlighten the population about sexuality, religion and police repression. By using lots of satire, irony and press cartoons, it helped desacralise President Hosni Moubarak before his downfall in 2011. Al-Massry al-Youm, which was launched in 2004, chose to become a “prestigious” newspaper, paying particular attention to the reliability of its information and investigations. Although non-partisan, its readership too was characterised by a total lack of trust in the regime, thanks to the conscientiousness of its journalism. Première publication: Benaziz B., 2018. “Fortune et infortune de la presse privée égyptienne. Socio-histoire d’un lieu de production de l’information”, Questions de communication, 33, pp. 187–208. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/questionsdecommunication/12324; DOI: 10.4000/questionsdecommunication.12324 Traduit par: Xanthë Bordes-Ryle (Coup de Puce Expansion)

The emergence in the mid-1990s of a press financed by “businessmen” marked Egypt’s transition from a “state-controlled” press, one dependent on political power and born during the period of “nationalisations” in the 1960s, to a new type of journalism in which the transformations taking place in society play a major role in the information production process. The main identifying features of this breakaway from the old style of journalism are: the importance accorded by this emerging press to social issues which for a long time were “swept under the rug” by the media of the governing regime; the frequent use of “unofficial” or “illegitimate” sources to interpret events; a journalistic style of narration that includes a lot of colloquial language; and, last but not least, the intensive and sympathetic coverage of protest movements. The history of the press and how the journalist B. Benaziz (*) ERC TARICA CNRS, Saint-Denis, France

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profession has evolved in Egypt are profoundly linked to the protest movements that begun in the mid-2000s, a period during which al-Masry al-Youm (The Egyptian Today) and al-Dustour (The Constitution), the two main journalistic experiments of the time, were born and on which this study is focused. These two newspapers, founded in 2004 and 2005 respectively, have carved out a place for themselves and gained legitimacy by covering, indeed supporting, political and social protest movements. How then did this type of newspaper manage to emerge under an authoritarian regime and in a journalism sphere historically dominated by a state-controlled press? And how can we explain why businessmen, most of who have prospered through privileged relations with the Egyptian political administration, have taken the risk of investing in dissident journalism? Covering the activities of political demands or workers’ strikes, publishing revelations by judges about election rigging and giving a voice to those most deeply opposed to the hereditary transmission of power could reasonably be said to contradict the interests of the business world of which they are a part, and in particular those of the political regime. Yet all of them have repeatedly claimed to have “paid very dearly” for the type of journalism defended by the publications they control. The many television interviews with these businessmen after the fall of President Mubarak in February 2011, who were invited to explain the nature of their links with the “old regime” and their ownership of private media, are a good indication of the issues that were already topical within Egyptian society about this paradoxical and somewhat mysterious situation. Within the Egyptian media community itself, rumours and contradictory information abound about the identity and trajectories of certain businessmen who have invested in the media. Rumours that have also been fuelled by the increasing involvement of the aforementioned in Egypt’s political life after 25 January 2011, to the extent that they have become a way of undermining competitors in the struggle between the main protagonists of post-Mubarak Egypt. People therefore say that “it is the newspaper belonging to Salah Diab” or “the television channel belonging to Ahmad Bahgat”, in order to belittle these structures as merely reflecting the interests and “whims” of their owners, who can do “what they like” with their property. The main thesis of this work is that the transformations and mutations which the printed press in Egypt has undergone, following the move back to the private financing of press companies, should be analysed within the framework of the emergence of a new place of journalistic production. To study this place of production, special attention needs to be paid to the

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emerging political and social context, to the conditions of production and to the management and financing methods. Attention should also be paid to how journalists’ work is organised, to the various profiles and motivations of the businessmen who have invested in the press, as well as to the career paths of the most central stakeholders in all this, the journalists. We shall first clearly define this idea of “place of production”, taken from the historian and anthropologist Michel de Certeau (1975) and then briefly analyse the changes in Egyptian legislation covering the creation of newspapers. The third step will be to review the main private journalism experiences during the period from 1995 to the revolution of 25th January 2011: al-Dustour (1995–1998, then 2005–2010), al-Masry al-Youm (2004) and al-Badîl (2007–2009). By extending the analysis to include private satellite channels, the objective is also to focus on how certain aspects of the history of these organisations have contributed to defining this place of production, as well as on the transformations still affecting journalists and of how they, the journalists, related to society and the regime. The decision to include the emergence of the first private satellite channels in the analysis can also be justified by the high degree of complementarity in Egypt between these two types of media, or what Sarah Ben Néfissa (2014) calls “the private press-satellite television duo”. Indeed, the development of private television channels from 2001 onwards has not weakened the printed press, in particular thanks to the important role played by the latter in producing information and the prestige it enjoys within the Egyptian journalist and intellectual community. Similarly, the programmes of private satellite channels, in particular the talk-shows, many of which are hosted by big names from the printed press, have showcased private newspapers, which, up until today, were the raw material for television journalists.

A New Historic Situation The concept of “place of production” is taken from Michel de Certeau. Within the framework of an epistemological reflection on the production of historiographic knowledge, it refers to the necessity, when conducting scientific research, to take account of sociohistorical and cultural reality. An historical work, that is to say one “with a defined operating method” (Certeau 1975, p.  73), is not so much the result of subjective decisions taken by researchers, as the “outcome and symptom” of an “institution of knowledge” that sends out a certain type of message to “society”. The emergence of the different disciplines or schools of thought, and the changes

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in research strategies or issues, reflects not only a “group” logic that functions under laboratory conditions (type of financing and psychosocial recruitment, type of work organisation, hierarchical system, characteristics of the clientele, etc.) but also the association of enunciation with a specific historical situation which defines the nature of the research to be carried out, indeed imposes the boundaries of it at a given time. As regards the emergence of this new social entity of journalistic production, that is, the private press, the new historical situation was firstly that of Egypt of the 1990s, a period marked by the accelerating disappearance of the official, and in particular partisan, system of representation (Ben Néfissa 1996). The impact on society of the end of the system of representation put in place in the 1970s/1980s was a general loss of interest in and move away from historical channels for expressing political and social demands, in other words the state-controlled press, parties authorised by the regime and unions. The 1990s in Egypt was also a period in which a large part of society, one the Egyptian writer Bilal Fadl (2009) calls “Egypt’s first inhabitants”, accelerated its “spiritual emigration” (Certeau 1974), distancing themselves from any form of official representation or participation. Indeed, the main contribution of this new press was to attempt to interpret or express through journalism the form that this migratory movement of the population took. The introduction of Egyptian dialect into journalistic writing and the use of popular satire and irony as well as the attention they paid to the most marginalised social groups were also features of this new perspective. On a political level, the loss of interest in “official” channels and the “spiritual emigration” that took place resulted in the Egyptian opposition adopting a different attitude to the printed press, the work of associations, the judiciary system, human rights organisations, research centres and, of course, protest movements. The 2000s ushered in a real cycle of political and social movements. In addition to the diversity of the social categories and types of demand, these protest movements emerged in all the governorates in Egypt. At the end of the 2000s, anti-regime Egypt already had its own press, journalists, independent unions (Al-Azbaoui 2011), social movements, judges (Bernard-Maugiron 2007), lawyers, meeting places, publishing houses and literature. This dissident Egypt even had its own territory, an historical, city-centre area where most of the command centres that make up Khedivial Cairo are concentrated. Founded in the middle of the twentieth century and located on the east bank of the Nile, the area was more commonly known in Egypt as “Downtown” or Wasat al-­ balad (city centre) (El Kadi 2012). By a singular “coincidence” of history, practically all the main figures and events of the Egyptian revolution were

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located in this Khedivial Cairo, the centre of which is Tahrir Square. The political parties, main newspapers, union headquarters, human rights centres, city-centre cafes (in particular those next to Cairo’s stock exchange) and new cultural centres such as “Town House” (Monqid 2011) are clustered around four or five big boulevards. On the eve of 25th January 2011, this downtown area, the main setting for the clashes between demonstrators and police, was almost completely won over to the revolutionary cause. The Egyptian private press was born in this subversive area of Cairo and associated by its founders from the outset with the revolutionary cause. The importance of this spatial dimension in the production of information can mainly be seen here through two closely linked issues: that of the social networks of journalists working for the private press and that of information sources. A parallel or alternative system of representation was therefore established, confronting a political regime that was also undergoing a reorganisation of its own, via in particular an acceleration of the handing over of power to the president’s son, Gamal Mubarak, and all that entailed on a political and economic level, as well as reshuffles in the governing coalition. The disruption caused by the private press reveals, on the one hand, the particular role it had in the general reorganisation of society; and, on the other, the establishment of a new type of journalism that was inseparable from its place of production, the determining factor in its link with “society”. The emergence of the Egyptian private press was also the result of businessmen, most of them strangers to the media sphere, coming together with a generation of Egyptian journalists that had pioneering and innovative ideas but were incapable of flourishing within the state-controlled press, which was managed like a public administration. The various testimonies gathered on the working conditions within these structures, whether it be interviews, newspaper archives, literary texts (Eissa 1993b) or journalists’ memoirs (Hamamou 2012), stress in particular the interference of politicians and security organisations in how state-controlled newspapers worked and who managed them. The high degree of connivance between the ruling elite and directors of the “national” press, many of whom were also members of the NDP,1 the fact that most of the editorial posts were occupied by journalists close to the ruling power and the role of “State Security” (amn al-dawlat) in the attribution of strategically important positions, as well as the high degree of bureaucracy due to the 1  The National Democratic Party (NDP) is the party that was in power at the time of H. Mubarak.

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constant increase in the number of employees, appear to have been the main reasons for which a whole generation of Egyptian journalists decided to try their hand in the private press.

Political and Judicial Origins Before the 1952 “revolution”, journalism in Egypt was flourishing and highly diversified. In September 1951, Cairo had no less than 321 Arabic language publications, of which 21 daily newspapers, 122 weekly newspapers and reviews, 132  monthly revues and 46 other periodicals (Saleh 1995). Most of these publications at the start belonged to individuals or families. All of the main press institutions, now state “private property” except for al-Gomhouriyat, created by the “free officers” on 7 December 1953, were founded by individuals. Indeed, the dominant form of newspaper ownership in Egypt pre-1952 was that of individual or family ownership, as guaranteed by the constitution of 1923 and the “publications act” of 1936 (ibid.). It was article 209 of the 1971 constitution,2 as well as Act no. 148 of 1980 on “the powers of the press”, which for the first time restricted the right to create a newspaper to the state represented by the Advisory Board, political parties and legal entities, both public and private. For some Egyptian jurists, the “powers of the press” Act no. 148 of 1980 had two main intertwined goals. The first was to find a legal means of keeping the main press institutions under state control, after the dismantling of the Arab Socialist Union and the return to a “multi-party” system. The creation of the Advisory Board in 1980, which only plays a consultative role with respect to legislation, seemed to meet this need. The second objective was to restrict interpretation of article 47 of the 1971 constitution which enabled ordinary individuals to create newspapers: “Freedom of opinion is guaranteed, everyone has the right to express his opinion and to propagate it by word, in writing, by image or by any other means of expression within the limits of the law”. One of the main arguments put forward by the commission in charge of drawing up the legal text against individual ownership of newspapers was the fear of big businesses investing in the press (ibid.). Considering the amount of money that legal entities (cooperatives or public limited companies only) were required to have at the time though, it was obvious  Article 209 was in fact added to the 1971 constitution on 30 April 1980.

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that only very wealthy people would be able to set up a newspaper. Indeed, the “powers of the press” Act no. 148 of 1980 required that the capital of any legal entity be owned by Egyptians and amount to at least 250,000 Egyptian pounds for a daily newspaper and 100,000 for a weekly one. Moreover, any one shareholder should not own more than 500 pounds of shares in a daily newspaper and 200 pounds in a weekly one, which means that 500 shareholders are required to create a daily newspaper and 200 for a weekly one. It was in this area that Act no. 96 of 1996 made a change because even though it increased the amount of capital needed up to one million Egyptian pounds3 for daily newspapers, it also raised the minimum share of shareholders to 10%, thus reducing the number of shareholders needed (article 52). Once the press company was set up, a licence was then needed. Article 14 of the “powers of the press” Act no. 148 of 1980 stated that a written “notification” should be submitted to the Higher Press Council (HPC). Unlike the 1936 act on publications, which had limited the role of the HPC to check whether the information in the notification was correct, the 1980 act did not impose any criteria regarding agreement or refusal by the HPC. In other words, a publication “licence” had to be obtained, and not just merely a “notification” as stated in article 14. As to the members of the HPC, a body created in 1975 and confirmed by the 1980 constitutional amendment, everything pointed to the fact that it was an administrative body of censorship and political control. The dominant number of members close to or appointed by the government leaves little doubt about the hold Hosni Mubarak’s regime had on the Council’s decisions about whether or not to issue a publication licence, especially if the request came from someone critical of the regime. Between 1981 and 2004, the year when the daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm was founded, the HPC only issued a very small number of publication licences for private newspapers4 (Chouman 2007). The move back to a limited form of multi-party system towards the end of the 1970s could have meant a legal way for private capital to invest in the press. Indeed article 15 of the 1977 Act no. 40 on political parties and 3  One million Egyptian pounds is about the equivalent today of 60,000  euros. The Egyptian pound has lost value considerably since in 1996 1 euro was the equivalent of 6 or 7 pounds versus 17 pounds in 2017. 4  They were the following newspapers: al-Maydan (HCP authorisation obtained in 1995), al-Nabaa al-watany (1996), al-Osbu’ (1997) and Sawt al-Umma (1997).

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its various amendments authorised legal parties, that is to say those having obtained the approval of the “political parties commission”, to found one or several newspapers without going through the HPC. From the end of the 1970s until the middle of the 2000s, more than 30 or so newspapers and journals were thus created by political parties, accounting for 10% of all Egyptian journalism publications (Mennissi 2007). Censorship aside though, the characteristics of the partisan system in Egypt in reality prohibited any initiative of this type. Journalism publications by opposition parties were heavily influenced by the authoritarianism of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, which kept a close watch on the activities of the parties through the “political parties commission”. This commission, the majority of whose members belonged to the governing party, was created by Act no. 40 of 1977 on “political party affairs”. Its main mission was to rule on requests to create political parties, as well as on any internal conflicts, according to the principles and conditions laid down in the aforementioned act. If a party suspended its activities or failed to meet one of the required conditions, the political parties commission also had the right to close the party down. For Ahmad Mennissi (2007), a researcher at the al-­ Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, this situation was the main reason for the relative failure of the partisan press in Egypt. In order to keep control of opposition party publications, the regime, via the 1977 act, managed to link the future of this press with that of the political parties. Consequently, many publications had to shut down following the freeze on the party’s activities by the Party Affairs commission. Among others, it was the case for al-Shaab (The People, published by the Labour Party, 1978–2000), one of the main partisan journalism experiments of the 1990s; the weekly newspaper Young Egypt (published by the Young Egypt Party, 1990–1993); The World of Democracy (published by the People’s Democratic Party, 1992–1999) and al-Kharar (The Decision, published by the al-Wifak al-Qawmi Party, 2000–2002). In addition, the political, legal and police restrictions imposed on party work tended to reduce the opposition parties’ activities to just newspapers, their only way of addressing the State and society. Control of these newspapers therefore became the source of often-ferocious internal disputes over “the legitimate definition of the party and the right to speak in the name of the organisation and its collective brand” (Offerlé 1987, p. 15). Faced with the strict regulations on creating newspapers and the political and police restrictions that encumbered party work, Egyptians who wanted to invest in a newspaper turned to the United States and European

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capitals, London and Paris in particular, to obtain publication licences for newspapers intended for the Egyptian market. However, it was to Cyprus that most investors turned, due to its geographical proximity with Egypt and lower taxes on income from advertising. The “Cypriot press” phenomenon began at the start of the 1990s before really taking off in 1997 when a large number of newspapers were in circulation (all with a Cypriot licence but printed in Egypt, like the al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, 12/06/2001). The simplicity and rapidity of publishing was also a determining factor in the proliferation of these newspapers (Kassem 2005, pp. 353–359). But faced with pressure from the Egyptian government, in all likelihood overwhelmed by the increase in the number of these newspapers and evermore clever tricks for bypassing the censorship of the foreign publications office, the Cypriot authorities tightened up the conditions for obtaining a licence (Al-Ahram, 17/07/2001). To our knowledge, there are no studies or reports on the identity or characteristics of the founders of these newspapers, but many were journalists, publishers or lawyers (ibid.). As to the nature of these publications, most were specialised magazines (focusing on economics, health, sport, etc.) (ibid.). One particular investment in the printed press using a Cypriot licence heralded the arrival of the private press in Egypt: the al-Dustour (The Constitution) newspaper.

Private Sector Wealth The history of the Egyptian printed press can be divided into two periods: before and after al-Dustour. This private newspaper, which was founded in the mid-1990s (the first edition came out on 13/12/1995) by the publisher Essam Ismail Fahmy and a young editor from the state-controlled magazine Rose al-Youssef, Ibrahim Eissa, marked a break with the main journalist productions of the time and a profound change in the Egyptian media. Published using a Cypriot licence in order to bypass the restrictions imposed on setting up periodicals in Egypt, it was the first political information newspaper not to have links with the State or a political party since the 1950s. Formed, despite this, by journalists from the state-controlled press, the newspaper created a journalistic, intellectual and political shockwave (El-Khawaga 2000). Its principal financier, Essam Ismail Fahmy, belonged to a category of businessmen whose main activity was cultural production. “A real connoisseur of the press and a professional newspaper

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reader”, is how Ibrahim Eissa5 describes him. In the mid-1980s, he founded a music production company called “Sound of America”, the main achievement of which was to reveal the famous Egyptian singer, Munir. But it was in particular his collaboration in 1995 with Ibrahim Eissa, at the time aged barely 30, at the al-Dustour newspaper, which brought him fame as a publisher.6 Back then, Ibrahim Eissa was the leading figure of what were called “the golden boys of the Egyptian printed press”, graduates in journalism from Cairo University at the end of the 1980s that today constitute the Egyptian media elite. Ibrahim Eissa joined the weekly magazine Rose al-Youssef in his first year of studying journalism, in the mid-1980s. The magazine, which was set up in 1925 by the Lebanese actress, Fatma al-Youssef, met the same fate at the time as the newspapers that were “nationalised” in 1960. Interference by the state and security agencies in how the magazine was run and who ran it, among other factors, led to a deterioration in conditions and working relations within the magazine and a big drop in readership. But Rose al-Youssef, which prided itself on having brought together most of the big names in the Egyptian press and literature, was still attracting young journalism students or graduates in the 1980s. Initially specialised in the critique of art, theatre and literature, what was commonly known in Egypt as “the Rose al-Youssef school of journalism” essentially and historically referred to the priority given by the magazine to artistic and literary expression when dealing with everyday news topics and social issues, the quest for a stylish form of writing and the frequent use of photography and caricature. The weekly magazine shifted into politics at the end of the 1920s, and much of the legend surrounding it derives from reports on the combats that took place during the first half of the twentieth century for the independence of Egypt, democratisation of political life and freedom of expression. But as pointed out by the historian Ibrahim Abdo (1961), issues related to the development of the arts and culture in society, or even the liberalisation of morals, remained the main concern of the magazine for a long time. The coming of age novel by Ibrahim Eissa (1993b), Mariam la dernière apparition (Mariam’s last appearance), about his early days in journalism, describes the decline of the Rose al-Youssef magazine. The novel tells of the  Access: http://www.e3lam.org/2015/01/17/13479.  See B. Fadl’s very important account (2016) of this first experience with Dustour and also of the development of the political influence of I. I. Fahmy as an editor following the success of the newspaper. 5 6

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disillusions of a young student, who comes from the provinces to make a career for himself in the capital, and who is faced with the “perversity” and “cynicism” of the world of journalism, a world that he describes as having no morals or values, and symbolised by the widespread practice of journalists acting as informers for the political police (Amn al-dawlat). The young journalist is disillusioned too because he is unable to write articles that are critical of the political and social situation in the country, held back by the censure and opportunism of a management team that he considers talentless, that has been imposed and that is always supported by the government. In Mariam la dernière apparition, the real subject is the mission of the press and its involvement in the construction of a collective lie, myths and duplicity in a society governed by despotism. Indeed, the novel came out after a series of articles, investigations and work published by Ibrahim Eissa between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s on the phenomenon of preachers becoming stars and their role in religious radicalisation in Egypt. The main themes tackled in these works compiled in a book called: La Guerre avec le voile intégral. Sur le phénomène du voile des actrices et l’Islam saoudien en Égypte (War with a full veil; the phenomenon of actresses’ veils and Saudi Islam in Egypt) (Eissa 1993a). The author studies the sociological, political and ideological origins of terrorism against the background of an increasing number of jihadist attacks in Egypt. For Ibrahim Eissa, the fight against religious radicalisation cannot be limited only to its violent expression. The development in Egypt of “jihadist movements” has its roots in “intellectual or jurisprudential terrorism” (Eissa 1993a, p.  9), one exercised by a new category of “TV mediatised”, mainstream preachers who have a monopoly over the message about religion. The journalist goes on to talk about a new type of “holiness” and “sacredness” that eloquent preachers such as Mohamad al-Shaaraoui and Omar Abd al-Kafi have acquired through television, putting their preaching and speeches out of reach of any direct criticism or debate. The success of these preachers in the media in Egypt was also helped along by the religious trips and massive emigration by Egyptians to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s/1980s, most of whom returned deeply imbued with “Wahhabism” (fundamentalism). An “Egyptian”, “moderate”, “plural” and “open” Islam was gradually being replaced in society by an idea of the Muslim religion that the author describes as “Saudi”, “closed”, “radical” and “superficial”. In his text, there are many adjectives that seek to recall the local or geopolitical character of Wahhabism which belie its claims of universality: “Bedouin Islam”, “desert

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jurisprudence”, “oil Islam” or “Islam of appearances”. For Ibrahim Eissa, the construction of the mediatised image of certain preachers such as Mohamad al-Shaaraoui is part of a global political offensive led and funded by Saudi Arabia to end Egyptian leadership in artistic and media production. Hence these preachers’ constant focus on women (work, education, presence in public areas, clothing, etc.) and the arts, because their primary aim, according to the author, is to suppress all artistic sensitivity and expression in Egyptian society. The editorial project of the weekly newspaper al-Dustour in the 1990s was in part a continuation of the thoughts and writings of Ibrahim Eissa during his period working for the Rose al-Youssef magazine. The intention was to propose an intellectual media counteroffensive to Saudi Arabia’s political and social policy, the aim being to make Egyptian true to itself again. This explains the special attention paid by the newspaper to themes related to political and religious history, the place of women in society and the development of the arts in Egypt, as well as the collaboration with big names in Egyptian literature. When setting up the editorial team for Dustour, Ibrahim Eissa mainly called upon former colleagues from the national press, caricaturists and ten or so columnists from among poets, novelists and scriptwriters, of whom the famous playwright Oussama Anouar Okacha. But Ibrahim Eissa also recruited in particular a young trainee from Rose al-Youssef, Bilal Fadl, who rapidly became head of sub-­ editing and one of whose responsibilities was to rewrite the articles submitted for publication. Bilal Fadl is better known today for his talents as a news and screenplay writer than for his past as an editor. His career in the press came to an end several years after the closure of al-Dustour in 1998. Following this, he had some very ephemeral experiences—notably at the al-Gîl (The Generation) newspaper in 1999 and the al-Khahira (The Cairo) newspaper in 2004—before leaving the profession for good, not having been able to find anew the working conditions of al-Dustour. Even when the publication of the newspaper resumed in 2005, he no longer contributed to it, nor did he manage it in any way. However, despite his short career as a journalist, his work—most of which was first published in private newspapers—reflects some of the central concerns of this emerging press: democracy, human dignity, poverty, social justice, the “man in the street” and the gap between him and all the imposed forms of representation, whether political, social or media-related, and his solitude faced with a completely overwhelming environment (Fadl 2009, 2010, 2011a). His writing on the poor, a section of the population from which he comes,

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contains a scathing denunciation of the Egyptian regime, which he blames as being primarily responsible for all the misfortunes of society. The First Inhabitants of Egypt, a collection of short stories in which literary Arabic and Egyptian dialect are intertwined, and which depicts the tearing apart of the fabric of Egyptian culture under Hosni Mubarak, indeed ends with a collective action, the description of a particular incident: “The events of an unfinished popular uprising in Masr El-Jadida” (Fadl 2009, pp. 295–307). During this first experience in the 1990s, characterised in particular by Ibrahim Eissa’s concerns about the “cultural damage” caused by the development of Islamic ideology in Egyptian society, the ambition of the al-Dustour newspaper was clearly to “enlighten” rather than to just inform. As we can read in the launch issue, it set itself the following objective: [The] purification of the Egyptian political and cultural space of the obscurantism that pushes citizens towards darkness, that pushes them over the edge. The participants promise to combat extremism, which is not only armed, but also to fight against doctrinal extremism sometimes relayed by official or government institutions, and practically always by religious figures. (Al-Dustour, 13/12/1995)

The nature of the topics debated by Al-Dustour were therefore surprising (sexuality, religion, the presidential institution, police repression, the Coptic issue, themes that were heavily censored at the time), but what was more surprising was the way in which they were written and the page layout techniques used, which broke away from the traditional production formats used by journalists. The language intertwined satire and irony, and deliberately mixed literary Arabic with Egyptian dialect. Often accompanied by caricatures, the texts aimed to de-sacralise by ridiculing. Al-Dustour would criticise or denounce an injustice through the use of satirical popular language: “They’ve dipped into (American) relief aid”, was a headline run by Bilal Fadl in an inquiry into a case of corruption (Al-Dustour, “They’ve dipped into (American) relief aid”, 28/02/1996). With Ibrahim Eissa and Bilal Fadl at the helm, the newspaper’s main contribution was definitely the voice it gave to those in society that were fed up with the “authorities”, which were then completely out of touch. The journalistic formula invented by the founders of Al-Dustour and made possible, thanks to a new way of financing and managing the newspaper, enabled the sudden emergence of a “well thought-out”, credible and

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meaningful language for conveying a media message to the social categories intended to receive it. “When you’d open a state-controlled newspaper like al-Ahram or any other, you didn’t understand anything, they told stories (hawadiths)! Why? Because they were concentrating on just one thing: Hosni Mubarak”, says Mahmoud Afifi, a former spokesman for the “April 6th Youth” movement.7 The success of the Dustour, both journalistic and political, was a sign that something had already changed in Egypt, and also explains the different forms of censorship that were imposed on it (El-Khawaga 2000), until its ultimate removal from the market by the regime after two years and a few months of existence. In the early 2000s, the Egyptian state partially abandoned its monopoly on television production and granted licences to create satellite television channels to two businessmen close to the regime, two symbols of what is known as “buddy capitalism” (Gobe 2005), a remnant of the economic policy of “openness” launched by president Anouar Sadate in the 1970s and pursued by Hosni Mubarak. The media sector was one of the last to benefit from the liberalising of certain strategic segments of the Egyptian economy. And as for other sectors, the licences were granted to businessmen very close to senior government officials and/or with the necessary social capital and bureaucratic network to obtain the approval of the regime. The businessmen in question were Ahmed Bahgat, founder of the media group Dream TV, and Hassan Rateb, founder of the television channel al-Mehwar. Both had built their fortunes under the watchful eye and protection of the regime. This relative liberalisation of the sector was part of a wider process to modernise the Egyptian audio-visual industry (El-Khawaga 2002), a process that in particular included the creation of the first satellite channel, ESC1, in 1991 and the launch in the late 1990s of the Nilesat communication satellites. For the Hosni Mubarak regime, the primary and direct reason for demonopolising television was to convey the same political messages as the public channels but via more attractive and modern means and techniques, in order to attract audiences that had increasingly abandoned the national television channels for regional ones (Guaaybess 2005). But, as with the al-Dustour newspaper, the convergence of the private sector with journalists from the state-controlled press or television completely shook up traditional working methods and the media, resulting in a form of journalism that was more in synch with the profound transformations taking place in Egyptian society. The media 7

 Interview with M. Afifi, The Cairo newspaper, 2014.

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renown and commercial success of these television channels, combined with the weakening of the regime and the increase in social and political opposition, meant a big shake-up too in the relations between certain businessmen who had invested in the media and the Mubarak regime. The case of Ahmed Bahgat is a good example. He graduated from Cairo University in the early 1980s with an engineering degree, before moving to the United States to complete his studies at the Georgia Tech Institute in Atlanta. It was during his stay in the United States that he apparently met Hosni Mubarak, who then asked him to come back and work in Egypt.8 On his return, he founded a company assembling electrical household appliances. Thanks to his special relations with the administration and political authorities, the Bahgat group became the main television producer in Egypt in the 1990s (Gobe 2005). In 2001, he founded the first private satellite channels, Dream TV 1 and 2, and entrusted the group’s management to a former journalist from public television and magazine press called Hala Sarhane, a central figure in Arab media history, who is now at the head of the powerful audio-visual production and distribution group Rotana. Dream TV quickly distinguished itself from the public sector through the originality and diversity of its programmes. The programmes and talk-shows focused on catchy, censurable issues, the technical means employed by the producers and the often inquisitive, aggressive and liberated style of the TV hosts, Hala Sarhane in particular, contrasted with those of the national channels and appeared to be “modern” and “independent”. Significantly, it was during this period that Ahmed Bahgat’s relations with the regime deteriorated, particularly after the replay of a conference by journalist Mohammad Hassanayn Haykal at the American University in Cairo, during which he predicted the regime’s collapse (ibid.). Ahmed Bahgat later stated that all the problems he had with the Egyptian regime and judiciary were due to the political and social broadcasts of Dream TV, which was very successful in the mid-2000s (ibid.). All these businessmen who invested in satellite TV channels were close to the Mubarak regime. The aim was to open up the media sector to private investment, and the opportunity was given to businessmen close to the regime. Investing in television channels was very profitable at the time; 8  A.  Bahgat interview with the television presenter A.  El-Leithy on the al-Hayat channel, 2014.

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Dream TV was an immediate success because it was a rare commodity on the market with no competitors. Advertisers discovered a channel with a “pretty face” and which was having money spent on it, so they immediately abandoned the public channels. And even when al-Mehwar appeared, there was very little competition between the two. When the al-Hayat channel appeared, they certainly lost their lustre, and the ONTV channel, founded by billionaire Naguib Sawiris in the late 2000s, did not enjoy the same success. […] These television channels also sought to win the public’s favour by sticking to the news of the time, and the news of the time was the rise in collective protest movements. They even attempted to exaggerate them to make themselves look like heroes. Some were sincere, certainly, but others were just riding the wave. All these factors combined meant that the private channels were a success, to the extent that they have become a fundamental part of modern-day politics. Even though they lose money, they remain very influential and their existence is a fait accompli.9

The political and general information daily newspaper, al-Masry al-­ Youm, was created in 2004 under an Egyptian publication licence, that is to say having obtained the approval of the HPC. The main investor was businessman Salah Diab, chairman of the board of directors of Pico, a group of companies encompassing a range of activities, the main ones being cake and pastry making, oil and agriculture. He graduated as an engineer from Aïn Chams University in Cairo, where he worked for one year as a lecturer, before going into business in the early 1970s when he founded the pâtisserie company La Poire.10 The story of Salah Diab’s investment in the newspaper dates back to the early 2000s when he bought a publishing licence from a journalist at al-Ahram.11 Asked about the reasons that led him to found a newspaper, Salah Diab said that he was passionately attached to the world of journalism, due to his father’s “glorious” past as a journalist, and the desire to accomplish a family dream of re-­ founding a newspaper and thus regaining the glories of yesteryear (ibid.). To do so, Salah Diab called on three main shareholders, all businessmen: Naguib Onsy Sawiris, the former owner and founder of the ONTV television channel, Ahmad Bahgat and Akmal Ortam, his own nephew. 9  Interview with M. Saïd Mahfouz, former host and founder of the Kalam el nass programme on the CBC extra satellite channel, professor at the university of Cairo and president of the al-Ahram regional institute for the press, Cairo, 2014. 10  S. Diab interview with I. Eissa on the ON TV satellite channel, 2015. 11  S.  Diab interview with the editorial team of Massry al-Youm, al-Massry al-Youm TV, June 2013.

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As with the newspaper al-Dustour, the creation of Masry al-Youm was first and foremost thanks to a meeting, in this case between Salah Diab and the publisher Hicham Kassem who had already forged a certain reputation for himself in Egyptian journalism through the Cairo Times, a weekly English-language newspaper published under a Cypriot licence and aimed mainly at the country’s elites. The team in charge of writing the newspaper included some well-known figures from the world of journalism: Anouar al-Hawary, Magdy al-Gallad, Charles al-Masry, Mahmoud Mossalam and Mohammad al-Sayyed Saleh, the current editor-in-chief of the Masry alYoum newspaper. All were trained by and had worked in state-controlled media institutions, al-Ahram in particular. They had no affiliation with any party and were far removed from any form of political activism. They were in tune with the working methods and projects of the editor Hicham Kassem, whose main ambition was to replace the informal newspaper alAhram and become the main information source in Egypt. Hired by Salah Diab “to produce a popular newspaper”12 with which to target the “masses”, Hicham Kassem finally laid the foundations of a “prestigious newspaper”.13 This involved strict separation of “information” and “commentary”, sticking to the facts and a rigorous writing style, all characteristics that ensured the rapid success of the daily newspaper, which at the same time became an institution under his management. Thanks to the establishment of a powerful network of correspondents, al-Masry al-Youm extended its coverage to other governorates in Egypt and distinguished itself from the rest of the press which was generally very focused on Cairo. But this was not the most crucial characteristic of Masry al-Youm journalism, which was rather the attention paid by the daily newspaper to problems and social groups that had generally been marginalised by the state-controlled press (opposition parties, Islamist movements, protest movements, reports by research centres, etc.), and the priority given to unofficial sources when interpreting events that led to a shake-up in the Egyptian media hierarchy. Media time was no longer as before devoted to the activities of political figures alone but to personalities from “civil society”. In a context of demands for a daily publication and the monopolisation of institutional sources by journalists from the state-controlled press, information or news now also came from action on the “street” and the network of information available to young editors who were generally new  H. Kassem interview, Cairo, 2013.  On the idea of “prestigious press”, see J.-G Padioleau (1985).

12 13

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to the profession.14 Hence, parents’ anger at the closure of a school, or a teachers’ strike to protest against the adoption of an act, had more chance of making the front page of the newspaper than the announcements of such and such an administrative official. This system was also based from the outset on a division of the journalists’ work by “sector” or “case”, whereby each editor would handle one issue in its entirety and not, as was the case in the state-controlled newspapers, be limited to “ministry coverage” to use the expression of Charles al-Masry, a journalist at the daily newspaper. This move away from opposition journalism, which dominated the Egyptian press at the time, had formidable political effects on Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The increased credibility of investigative work based strictly on the facts, gave the daily newspaper greater legitimacy, particularly for its media coverage of the rise of protest in Egypt. Al-Masry al-­ Youm was thus the first Egyptian daily newspaper, probably since Hosni Mubarak came to power, to cover a political demonstration: that of the “Kifayat” movement (Ben Néfissa 2007), on 4 December 2004, when about one hundred demonstrators managed to escape the security perimeters and walk the few metres to the Supreme Court in the centre of Cairo, shouting “No to the re-election of Mubarak and no to the hereditary transmission of power”. It was also in al-Masry al-Youm that Judge Noha al-Zini spoke out about the rigging of the 2005 parliamentary elections (Al-Masry al-Youm, 24/12/2005). And it was al-Masry al-Youm which dedicated its front page to the strike at the Ghazl al-Mahalla textile and weaving complex. These demonstrations, along with those of the property tax officials, were the driving force behind the wage protests of the 2000s (Duboc 2012), during which on 8 December 2006 over 15,000 blue-collar workers protested against their low wages and poor working conditions (Al-Masry al-Youm, 08/12/2006). Press coverage of workers’ demonstrations was now intensive with a daily combination of articles, special features, investigations and quasi-ethnographic reports on workers’ conditions. The intrusion in the protest process of a newspaper such as al-Masry al-Youm, a first in Egypt’s political history,15 was certainly a decisive factor in triggering the succession of social movements that took place 14   C. al-Massry interview, Executive Director of the al-Masry al-Youm newspaper, Cairo, 2013. 15  K. Abass interview, founder and coordinator of the Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services, Cairo, 2014.

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in Egypt in the mid-2000s. Especially since Massry al-Youm’s reputation for thorough investigative journalism, including amongst its foreign counterparts, progressively forced politicians to express themselves in the newspaper and showed—de facto—that the regime was taking the demonstrators’ demands into account. The editor Hicham Kassem’s account of the project to set up the daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm sums up perfectly how, in the Egypt of the 2000s, the emergence of a private daily newspaper redefined the role of the printed press in its relations with the state and society. My idea was to create a purely informational newspaper, flee the polarization of the Egyptian press between the regime and opposition, and occupy a completely empty space, that of information. And it was very difficult to convince the owners and my colleagues of such a concept. The first chief editor I took on was Anwar al-Hawary. I had a very bad relationship with him. I noticed that he was trying to move away from the idea of an information newspaper. I found, for example, that he had used a title like: “The damnable decision to unify calls to prayer”. I told him: no, I don’t want your opinion, I want to know if this decision will apply to all mosques or not, how they will organise themselves, in short information and then we let the readers decide for themselves whether this decision is damnable or not. After 6 months, there was a big dispute between us over an advertising issue that ended with his resignation. At the same time, the regime was not happy. Often Magdy al-Gallad, who took over from Anwar al-Hawary, would come and warn me that the state police were very angry with this or that article. I would reply that here we are not involved in politics, we are collecting information, we process it and then we sell it. As long as the information is exact, there is no room for political considerations. Tell them to look at what the opposition newspapers are writing, we’re more serious. He replied that this was the problem for them, people believed us. In fact, given my past as a political opponent, my struggles for the protection of human rights, they thought I would lead the newspaper down the path of opposition to the regime. They said to themselves: it doesn’t matter, there are lots of opposition newspapers protesting, but when they discovered it was an information newspaper, they were surprised. They hadn’t thought I was going to found an information newspaper and that people would believe us. (Interview with the editor Hicham Kassem, Cairo, 2013)

After seven years of censorship, the al-Dustour newspaper reappeared in 2005 by court order and after several attempts at publication, with the same editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Eissa, and the same owner, Issam Ismail Fahmy (Benaziz 2015). To rebuild the newspaper, Ibrahim Eissa founded

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a talented group of young caricaturists, little known until then, who formed the core of the Dustour’s editorial team.16 The main intention of the newspaper was to provide political and general information but in order to ensure a satirical and critical interpretation of current events, Ibrahim Eissa also asked the writer and scriptwriter Bilal Fadl to co-host a satirical page with the cartoonist Amrou Slim, a page ironically called “Two slaps in the face”. These weekly pages (2005–2007), in which Bilal Fadl published some of his writing in the form of a column, have been compiled in two books published by the Dar Meret publishing house: Two Slaps in the face (Fadl 2007) and The Oscar of Hypocrisy (Fadl 2011b). In the latter, he enjoys himself awarding an “Oscar” each week to the journalist who has written “the most flattering article” about Hosni Mubarak— most of whom are journalists from the state-controlled press and the favourite targets of editors at al-Dustour. This was the golden age of political satire in Egypt. From 2005 to 2010, al-Dustour provided intensive and sympathetic coverage of protest movements against the Hosni Mubarak regime and over the years sent out a coherent, offensive and revolutionary political message. The journalists at Dustour would systematically attack the regime’s symbols and apparatus—the presidential institution, the ruling party, the state-controlled press and official religious institutions—which were often reduced to a few key, lingering figures that al-Dustour journalists would make use of for every event or situation. So, there was one main idea around which all al-Dustour’s arguments were centred: that all the problems Egypt suffered from were due to the despotic nature of the regime and the lack of democracy. The newspaper’s editorial policy was to constantly challenge the authoritarian organisation of power and “sacralization of the president”. Almost all the issues of the al-Dustour weekly newspaper, published between 30 March 2005 and 1 August 2007, that we analysed, included investigations into Hosni Mubarak and his family including the salary, health, travel, wealth, status and prerogatives of the president’s wife (Susanne Mubarak), the political and military past of Hosni Mubarak, among other subjects. The primary objective of al-Dustour’s journalists was not so much to inform about or reveal facts about the president’s life, but to remove the sanctity of 16  In particular, Amrou Slim, Walid Taher, Ahmad Makhlouf, Doaà Eladl, Mohammad Khandil, Abdallah Ahmad, Hicham Rahmat and Hany Chams. I. Eissa also mobilised the famous Egyptian painter Hilmi al-Touni and the political cartoons of Bahgat Othman, a famous caricaturist from the 1970s.

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presidential power, to “humanise Mubarak”17 in order to make him criticisable and hold him politically responsible by tackling subjects that were usually untouchable. By making it normal to talk about these topics, the al-­Dustour newspaper’s aim was also to send a shock wave through society, to make people question and think about what before seemed obvious or to go without saying. This was the case for example of an investigation into “the president’s travels” in which al-Dustour journalists questioned the budget allocated by the state to cover Hosni Mubarak’s official visits abroad, the usefulness of these trips for the country and their economic impact. Since they had no official information or documents on the matter, al-Dustour journalists estimated the figures, interviewed researchers and lawyers, evoked the frequency of these trips and the high number of people accompanying the president, made comparisons with democratic countries and expressed outrage at the little interest showed by Hosni Mubarak for Egyptian cities (Al-Dustour, “The flying president”, 90, 06/12/2006). In addition to strongly awakening curiosity of readers unused to seeing these subjects covered by the Egyptian media, the aim of these types of investigation was to denounce the arbitrariness of the government and remind readers that the presidential function is an elected one and subject to the laws of the country. For Ibrahim Eissa (2012, pp.  225–226), all of whose articles published between 2005 and 2010 were about Hosni Mubarak, the regime’s repressive force and the media and political “instruments” at its service, all with the complicity of the official opposition, have led to the long-lasting establishment in society of what he calls “a state of fear and general hypocrisy”, the outcome being a constant detachment of the presidential institution from the political debate. Through investigations into corruption, torture in prisons, election rigging and the development of social inequalities in Egypt, journalists at al-Dustour were therefore attempting to denounce the consequences of a “single-person government”, but also and above all to put the former president back in the political context. A second important point is that, in a completely stagnant, blocked society, the arrival of a newspaper like al-Dustour had the effect of an electro-shock, insofar as it broke all the taboos, in the style of: “I’ve seen the king naked”, a president that nobody could see, approach or talk to. Al-Dustour therefore created a psychosocial shockwave that had the effect of belittling and desa I. Eissa interview at the head office of the al-Tahrîr daily newspaper, Cairo, 2013.

17

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cralizing Mubarak. I can say that one of the great achievements of the al-­ Dustour newspaper is that it formed the first squad of martyrs whose objective was to take Mubarak down from the status of a pharaoh to that of a president, and it is this that enabled us to revolt against him. What broke this sacralization were the articles and caricatures by al-Dustour journalists. We’d draw the back of the president’s neck!18 We’d say “Mubarak”! We talked fearlessly and boldly about everything to do with Mubarak; we certainly paid the price, but in the end we succeeded in psychologically preparing Egyptian citizens to rise up against the despot. We shattered fears and doubts, like the prophet Ibrahim did when he shattered the idols in the temple then gave the axe to the great god of the temple. And this was happening during the same period as the demonstrations of Kifayat and April 6 etc. All this therefore contributed to the emancipation of the Egyptian people. (Ibrahim Eissa interview, Cairo, 2013)

The work of the political cartoonists was not limited to accompanying the written texts of al-Dustour; from the outset, they produced graphical and symbolic work that went far beyond the texts, expressing more complex messages. This was the case in particular of Walid Taher’s drawings, the central theme of which was the “degeneration” of “Egyptian man”. At first glance, most of his work expresses a society in deep depression. But interpreted within the revolutionary framework of the political message that al-Dustour was seeking to convey, the objective of these drawings was, in reality, to provoke a response. The caricaturist highlighted the inertia, the resigned and humiliating submission, of a society that always preferred to suppress its problems and anger instead of rebelling against the regime at the root of all its suffering.19 The newspaper al-Badîl (The Alternative) appeared on the Egyptian media scene in July 2007. It emerged following the development of the social movements in Egypt with the aim of supporting them.20 In a study 18  “The back of Mubarak’s neck” is probably the major brainwave of the political cartoonist A. Slim. Its tremendous success at the time can be explained by the fact that a satirical message is conveyed in a very condensed form and in a very dynamic way that involves the reader in the construction of the irony. The metaphor of the “neck”, symbol of repression in Egypt, also brings together all aspects of H. Mubarak’s political regime, and thus acts as a visual summary of a period of time or climate in society. 19   See, for example, the drawing by Walid Taher entitled “Tofranil”, al-Dustour, 31/01/2007. 20  K. al-Balchy interview, former editor-in-chief of the al-Badîl newspaper and one of the founders of the newspaper, Cairo, 2014.

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which focuses on the “singularity” and “originality” of the al-Badîl experience, Marianna Ghiglia (2015) gave us one of the first monographical analyses of a private Egyptian newspaper. Founded by human rights activists who had broken away from the traditional militant structures of the Egyptian left, managed by journalists/intellectuals and financed by a group of financially “impartial” businessmen, al-Badîl occupies a special place in the history of the Egyptian printed press for the author. This “hybrid” characteristic of al-Badîl did indeed distance it from both the journalism produced by the state-controlled press and political party newspapers,21 as well as from the private press, due to the leftist ideological roots of al-Badîl’s financers. A political project called “democratic left” rallied and federated those who launched the newspaper, a project “based on the convergence of the principles of democracy and human rights on the one hand and social justice on the other” (ibid.: 4). In the context of the political and social upheaval of the 2000s, it was a way of offering a “civil” alternative to the Islamist movement and to the authoritarianism of the regime. So, unlike most private newspapers of that period, the primary ambitions and motivations of the founders of al-Badîl were not strictly journalism-related. It was more a case of gaining access to the legal political scene via the printed press. With the closure of institutional channels of political expression, the newspaper was seen as an alternative means of expression. Is this the reason for the “financial collapse” of al-Badîl and its withdrawal from the market in 2009? That is what Ahmad Abd Al-Tawab, Egyptian journalist and editor of the institutional state newspaper, al-­ Ahram, seems to think: The al-Badîl experience is different from that of the al-Dustour newspaper. Al-Badîl failed professionally. Al-Badîl was unable to produce a form of journalism that appealed to readers. It’s all very well having a noble and courageous media project, but it’s not a guarantee of success because the newspaper wasn’t able to reach out to people. Al-Badîl was a group of activists who were respectable, honest and political, but who didn’t know anything about journalism; they didn’t have any journalists capable of putting their political message into a form of journalism that was acceptable to the general public. (Interview, 2013)

21  In particular, the weekly newspaper al-Ahaly, the main voice of the Egyptian Socialist Party ‘Al-Tagammu’.

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An interview with Khaled al-Balchy, former journalist at the state magazine Rose al-Youssef and al-Dustour, one of the founders of al-Badîl and its chief editor from October 2008 to its closure in April 2009, shed further light on the reasons for the newspaper’s closure which would seem to back up rather than contradict Ahmad Abd al-Tawab’s remarks. Al-Badîl shut down in April 2009. The newspaper’s funders claimed it was for financial reasons. Personally, I don’t think that’s the real reason. I think it was more for political reasons. The al-Badîl newspaper was a left-wing newspaper. It was created to cover and support social movements, the workers’ movement in particular. It was supposed to be the profound and sincere expression of the social movement that Egyptian society experienced in the 2000s. And the main funders of the al-Badîl newspaper invested in it out of conviction for the project. But I think they didn’t anticipate or they underestimated the price to pay for giving a voice to this protest movement, especially since al-Badîl was the most radical newspaper when it came to criticism of the regime. (Interview, 2014)

From its foundation until its closure in 2009, al-Badîl specialised in covering collective mobilisations, human rights issues and the publication of reports by research centres. It also opened its pages to activists and political opponents of the regime. But the newspaper was also characterised by a gradual and perceptible professionalisation, according to Marianna Ghliglia (2015, p. 8), as regards the layout of the newspaper: The layout of the newspaper was gradually changed to increase its appeal. The front page became little by little more legible and organised, and the headlines became catchier via the widespread use of dialectal expressions. In other words, the newspaper changed its personality and took on a more dynamic and captivating look, even if in doing so it lost some of its sobriety.

But, and this was Marianna Ghliglia’s main point, these changes in form revealed another change, that of the rising to management level in the newspaper of a young generation of journalists whose socio-­professional characteristics and political trajectories differed from those of the founding fathers of al-Badîl. The militants and intellectuals of the “political generation” known as the “seventies” (El-Khawaga 2003), the one socialised by Nasserian left-wing structures and who held influential positions, were gradually being replaced by a new category of people: most of them journalists by training, with no specific ideological affiliation. Unlike

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their elders, this group did not conceive journalism as a “default” means of political struggle. Like most young journalists in the private press, they entered professional life in a context with two historical particularities: the prolific rise in protest movements and the de-monopolisation of the Egyptian media, and hence the multiplication of private newspapers and television channels. Working for a newspaper like al-Badîl or al-Dustour therefore offered the possibility both of protesting against the established order but also the promise of professional success and advancement.

Conclusion The formidable growth of private media during Hosni Mubarak’s time proves that Egyptians were completely ready to read or see something other than government publications and public service programmes. This boom was the result of a very complex convergence of innumerable processes, desires and interests: an historical context characterised in particular by the rise of social mobilisation and collective protests against the regime; a new type of financing for media structures giving rise to a new type of management, recruitment and way of working; and a generation of Egyptian journalists with innovative journalistic ideas, who have found the means and conditions in the private sector to enable them to put these ideas into practice. As for the Hosni Mubarak regime, it does not seem to have anticipated all the consequences of liberalising, albeit partially, satellite television. The winning combination of businessmen, whose interests changed with the political and media tumult of the 2000s, and journalists from the state-controlled press, has ultimately led to the establishment of a form of journalism that is more attentive to the demands for political change in Egypt.

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Ben Néfissa, S. (1996). Les partis politiques égyptiens entre les contraintes du système politique et le renouvellement des élites. Revue du monde musulman et de la Méditerranée, 81–82, 55–91. https://www.persee.fr/doc/ remmm_0997-1327_1996_num_81_1_1757. Ben Néfissa, S. (2007). “Ça suffit” ? Le “haut” et le “bas” du politique en Égypte. Politique africaine, 108, 5–24. https://www.cairn.info/revue-politique-africaine-2007-4-page-5.htm. Ben Néfissa, S. (2014) “Confluence médiatique” et protestations sociales avant la révolution du 25 janvier en Égypte: questionnements. In M.  Oualdi, D. Pagès-El Karoui, & D. Verdeil (Eds.), Les Ondes de choc des révolutions arabes (pp.  143–161). Beyrouth: Presses de l’Ifpo. http://books.openedition.org/ ifpo/6965?lang=fr. Benaziz, B. (2015). Al-Dustour/al-Tahrîr. Apogée et déclin d’un journal privé. Revue Tiers Monde, 222, 31–48. https://www.cairn.info/article. php?ID_ARTICLE=RTM_222_0031. Bernard-Maugiron, N. (2007). Le printemps des juges et la réactualisation autoritaire en Égypte. Politique africaine, 108, 67–85. https://www.cairn.info/ revue-politique-africaine-2007-4-page-67.htm. de Certeau, M. (1974). La Culture au pluriel. Paris: Le Seuil, 1993. de Certeau, M. (1975). L’Écriture de l’histoire. Paris: Gallimard. Chouman, M. (2007). La presse indépendante et la question de la démocratie. In A. Mennissi (Ed.), La Presse et la réforme politique en Égypte (pp. 171–212). Le Caire: Le Centre des études politiques et stratégiques. (In Arabic). Duboc, M. (2012). Contester sans organisations. Stratégies de mobilisation, question sociale et espace de visibilité dans les grèves de l’industrie textile égyptienne, 2004–2010. PhD thesis, Paris: École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Eissa, I. (1993a). La Guerre avec le voile intégral. Sur le phénomène du voile des actrices et l’Islam saoudien en Égypte. Le Caire: Dar al-Chabab al-Arabi. (In Arabic). Eissa, I. (1993b). Mariam, al-Tajali al-akhir (Mariam la dernière apparition). Le Caire: Dar al-Hilal. (In Arabic). Eissa, I. (2012). Le président caché. In I.  Eissa (Ed.), La Route vers janvier (pp. 225–226). Doha: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. (In Arabic). El Kadi, G. (2012). Le Caire. Centre en mouvement. Marseille: IRD Éditions. El-Khawaga, D. (2000). Sisyphe ou les avatars du nouveau journalisme égyptien. Égypte/Monde arabe, 1(3), 149–165. El-Khawaga, D. (2002). Nilesat 101 et 102: petite histoire d’un rêve de grandeurk Hermès, La Revue, 34, 135–148. https://www.cairn.info/revue-hermes-larevue-2002-2-page-135.htm. El-Khawaga, D. (2003). La génération seventies en Égypte. La société civile comme répertoire d’action collective. In M.  Bennani-Chraïbi & O.  Fillieule (Eds.), Résistances et protestations dans les sociétés musulmanes (pp.  271–292). Paris: Presses de Sciences po.

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Fadl, B. (2007). Deux gifles. Le Caire: Dar Meret. (In Arabic). Fadl, B. (2009). Les Premiers Habitants de l’Égypte. Le Caire: Dar Meret. (In Arabic). Fadl, B. (2010). Rires Blessés. Le Caire: Dar al-Shorouk. (In Arabic). Fadl, B. (2011a). Banou Bagam. Le Caire: Dar al-Shorouk. (In Arabic). Fadl, B. (2011b). L’Oscar de l’hypocrisie. Le Caire: Dar Meret. (In Arabic). Fadl, B. (2016). Fi sohbat harami al-anboubat », Al-Arabi al-jadid, 10, 11, 13 févr. Ghiglia, M. (2015). Al-Badîl, ou L’Alternative. Récit d’une expérience à la croisée entre journalisme et engagement militant. Égypte/Monde arabe, 12, 115–145. https://www.cairn.info/revue-egypte-monde-arabe-2015-1-page-115.htm. Gobe, É. (2005). Secteur privé et pouvoir politique en Égypte: entre réformes économiques, logiques rentières et autoritarisme néo-patrimonial. In G. D. Khoury & N. Méouchy (Eds.), États et sociétés de l’Orient arabe. En quête d’avenir, 1945–2005 (pp. 253–265). Paris: Geuthner. Guaaybess, T. (2005). Télévisions arabes sur orbite. Un système médiatique en mutation (1960–2004). Paris: CNRS Éditions. Hamamou, S. (2012). Le Journal d’une journaliste d’al-Ahram. Vingt ans dans la vieille institution journalistique. Le Caire: Madboly. (In Arabic). Kassem, H. (2005). Comment le Cairo Times en est venu à être publié depuis Chypre. In Banque mondiale (Ed.), Le Droit d’informer. Le rôle des médis dans le développement économique (pp. 353–359). Bruxelles: De Boeck. Mennissi, A. (2007). La presse partisane et le processus de réforme politique. In A. Mennissi (Ed.), La Presse et la réforme politique en Égypte (pp. 121–167). Le Caire: Le Centre des études politiques et stratégiques. (In Arabic). Monqid, S. (2011). Quand la culture est au service du développement durable. Égypte/Monde arabe, 8, 171–180. https://journals.openedition. org/ema/3016. Offerlé, M. (1987). Les Partis politiques. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2002. Padioleau, J.-G. (1985). Le « Monde » et le « Washington Post ». Précepteurs et Mousquetaires. Paris: Presses universitaires de France. Saleh, S. (1995). La Crise de la liberté de la presse en Égypte 1945–1985. Le Caire: La Maison d’édition des universités égyptiennes. (In Arabic).

Author Index1

A Abu Dhabi TV, 184, 184n3 Ach-cha’b, 268 Ach-Charî’al-Maghribî, 270, 271n27 Ach-Chorouq, 266 Ach-Chourouk, 270 Actu.fr, 135 Agora, 211 Akhbar Al Ayaoum, 222 Akhbar Al Yaoum, 219 Akhbar Alyaoum, 209 Akhbar Al Youm, 222 Akhbar El Yaoum, 223 Al Adl Wal Ihsane, 219 Al Ahdath Al Maghribia, 223 Al-Ahram, 187, 187n6, 190n9, 192, 289, 290, 295, 297, 297n9, 298, 304 Al Akhbar, 207 Al-Amal, 262 Al Arabiya, 185

1

Al Asas, 204 Al Ayam, 208 Al-Badeel, 193 Al-Badîl, 265n11, 284, 303–306 Al Balagh Al Maghribi, 204 Al-Bedaya, 193 Al-Dhamîr, 267, 271, 273–276, 275n33, 276n36 Al-Dostor, 193 Al-Dustour, 283, 284, 290, 291, 293–295, 298, 300–306 Al-Fajr, 265n11 Algeria 360, 241 Algeria interface, 239 Algérie Focus, 241, 242, 244n44, 244n45 Algérie 1, 229 Algérie patriotique, 229, 250, 251 Al-Gomhuria Al-Gadia, 193 Al-Hadîth, 265n12 Al-Hayat, 187, 188, 296n8, 297

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309

310 

AUTHOR INDEX

Al Houdhoud, 204 Al Jarida Al Aoula, 223 Al Jarida Al Oukhra, 207, 208 Al Jarida Al Oula, 214 Aljazair el Yaoum, 243 Al Jazeera, 184, 184n4, 185, 189, 225 Al-Khahira, 293 Al-Kharar, 289 Al-Maghreb, 263, 264, 264n9, 265n11, 270, 274, 275 Al-Masry Al-Youm, 183n2, 187n6, 188, 192, 193, 283, 284, 288, 297–300, 299n14 Al-Massry al-Youm, 282 Al Massae, 207, 208, 212, 220, 223, 234 Al-Michaâl, 219 Al Moustaqil, 222 Al Mustakillah, 183 Al-Mustaqbal, 263 Al Ousboue, 204 Al Oussbouia El Jadida, 218 Al-Shaab, 289 Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 290 Al-Shorouk, 187, 187n6, 193 Al-Siyasi Magazine, 193 Al-Tahrir, 193, 302n17 Al-Talî’a, 262 AlYaoum24, 223 anp.org, 239, 239n30 Assabah, 234 As-Sabâh, 262, 267, 278 As-Sahâfa, 265 Assahifa, 206 As-Sarîh, 265n12, 266 At-tarîq al-jadîd, 263 B Barlamane.com, 211 Basta !, 32, 33, 35, 36, 39, 41, 42 BBC Arabic, 189

BFM, 27 Brief.me, 10 Business News, 268, 271 C Cairo Times, 192, 298 Canal+, 27 Charlie Hebdo, 100, 126, 128, 129, 161 Cherchel News, 244n44 CNews, 27, 122n14 CNN, 184 D Djazair News, 246 Dream TV, 183n2, 188, 295–297 Dream TV 1, 296 Dzair News, 233, 243n42 Dzair TV, 233, 251 E Echaab, 232n7, 233, 250 Echouroukonline, 241, 242 Echurouk, 234 El Bilad, 243n42, 250 El Djazaria, 244n45 El Hadaf, 241 El Haq La Réalité, 249 El Hayat, 239 El Khabar, 233, 234, 238n28, 241, 247, 249, 251–253 El Massa, 233 El Moudjahid, 232, 232n7, 238n28, 250 El Mounqid (Le Sauveur), 249 El Mujahid, 233, 236, 237 El Pais, 221, 239 El Waqt, 233

  AUTHOR INDEX 

El Watan, 232–234, 232n5, 234n10, 244n45, 247, 249, 251, 252, 252n62 Ennahar, 234, 241, 250, 251 Ennahar l’Expression, 247, 251, 253 Er-raï, 263 Express, 86 F Focus Algeria, 241 France-Soir, 23 G Goud.ma, 208, 221 Guardian, 105 H Horizon, 232n7, 233, 235n14, 250 Huffington Post, 271 Huffington Post Maghreb-Tunisia, 271, 271n26, 273 I Ideale, 219 Impact 24, 229 iTélé, 27 IT Magazine, 244n48, 245n49 J Journal Hebdomadaire, 210, 214 K Kalima, 204 Kapitalis, 268, 271 Koul En-nâs, 265n12

311

L La Croix, 1 L’Action, 262 La Dépêche de Brest, 139 L’Agefi, 27 Lakome, 208, 221 Lamalif, 204 L’Ami du Peuple, 84 La Presse de Tunisie, 262, 265, 267 La Provence, 34 La Relève, 211 La Revue Dessinée, 32, 33, 35, 39, 41 La Rue, 81 La Tribune, 111, 232n7, 237n24, 239n31, 244n45, 245n49, 250, 251, 252n62 La Tribune du Progrès, 262 La Tuerka, 70, 75, 93, 94, 96, 97, 99 La Vie Éco, 206 La Vigie Marocaine, 203 L’Avis local, 140 L’Économiste, 206 Le Courrier de Cornouaille, 140 Le Courrier du Finistère, 140 Le Cri du peuple, 69 Le Desk, 211, 211n8, 214 Le Devoir, 60 Le Figaro, 23, 24, 27, 42, 81, 112, 139, 239, 239n33 Le Jeune Indépendant, 245n49, 251 Le Journal, 206, 209, 210, 223 Le Matin, 203, 252, 253 Le Mensuel de Rennes, 138 Le Monde, 23–25, 26n8, 26n10, 27, 34, 42, 111, 139, 219, 239 Le Monde Diplomatique, 10 Le Mouton noir, 57, 59n2 Le Nouvel Observateur, 105, 111 Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France, 27 Le Penthièvre, 139, 140, 142

312 

AUTHOR INDEX

Le Père Duchesne, 69 Le Petit Marocain, 203 Le Phare, 263 Le Point, 27, 111 Le Progrès, 81, 140 Le Progrès de Cornouaille/Courrier du Léon, 139, 140 Le Quotidien d’Oran, 249 Le Quotidien, 270 Le Ravi, 21, 30, 32, 35, 37, 42 Le Républicain Lorrain (RL), 159–161, 163–165, 167–171, 173 Les Annonces, 265n12 Les Échos, 27, 111 Les Jours, 21, 21n1, 32–35, 34n15, 38–41 Le Soir, 212 Le Telégramme, 138–140, 143, 149n8 Le Temps, 233 L’Express, 27, 111 L’Humanité, 10, 91, 100 Libération, 24, 25, 27, 34, 35, 91, 239n33 Liberté, 233, 247, 249–253 L’Indice bohémien, 57 Lorraine Cœur d’Acier (LCA), 69, 70, 85–91, 96, 98, 99 M MaarifPress, 211 Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP), 203 Maghreb Emergent, 229, 241, 244n48, 250, 251 Maroc Hebdo International, 206 Maroc Informations, 204 Marsactu, 32, 38, 42 Mediapart, 21, 27, 105 Monte Carlo Doualiya, 189

N Nawaat, 267 Nawaat.org, 192 New York Times, 239 Nice Matin, 10, 30, 32–34, 38, 41, 42 Nichane, 192, 208, 209, 214, 219 O ONTV, 188, 297 Orbit TV, 190 Orient XXI, 32, 33, 37, 40, 41 ORTF, 86 Ouest-Éclair, 139 Ouest-France, 23, 138–140 P Paris-Normandie, 24 Q Quotidien d’Algérie, 232n7, 243n42 R Radio-Canada, 47 Radio Classique, 27 Radio France, 112 Réalités, 272 Reporters, 237 Républicain lorrain, 86 Ricochet, 60 RMC, 27 Rose al-Youssef, 290, 291, 293, 305 Rue89, 36, 105 Rue89 Strasbourg, 10

  AUTHOR INDEX 

S Sabqpresse, 229, 244n44 Sawt El Ahrar, 249, 249n60, 251 Scoop, 211 Society, 10, 36 So Film, 36 So Foot, 36 Soir d’Algérie, 232n7, 243n43 Souffles, 204 Sud-Ouest, 23 T Télé K, 93 Télé-Québec, 47 Telexpresse, 211 TelQuel, 192, 206, 209, 213, 219 TF1, 27, 68n1, 112 Topo, 33

TSA, 229, 241, 245, 250, 251 20 Minutes, 112, 139 V Voice of the Arabs, 184 W Webdo, 271, 273 WebManager, 268 Webmanagercenter, 271 The World of Democracy, 289 Y Young Egypt, 289 Young Independent, 237

313

Subject Index1

A Abdo, Ibrahim, 291 ACPM (French association establishing newspaper circulation figures, new name of OJD), 25n7, 136n1 Agostini, Antoine, 74n9, 75n10 Aitamurto, Tanja, 37 Allard-Huver, François, 162 Alterman, Jon B., 182n1 Alves, Audrey, 32 Ardjoun, Samir, 229, 230 Arquembourg, Jocelyne, 184 Asdourian, Bruno, 105 Al-Azbaoui Y., 285 B Babou, Igor, 158 Ballarini, Loïc, 3, 28

1

Barron, Pierre, 88 Barrouhi, Abdelaziz, 262 Battelle, John, 49 Baudrin Mathieu, 162 Bayart, Jean-François, 263 Becquet, Nicolas, 29 Belghazi, T., 201 Belleflamme, Paul, 48 Ben Henda, Mokhtar, 192 Ben Nefissa, Sarah, 185, 284, 285, 299 Benaziz, Bachir, 4, 300 Benchenna, Abdelfettah, 4, 201n1 Benslimane, Mehdi Kamal, 210 Berger, Miriam, 191 Bernard-Maugiron, Nathalie, 285 Birnbaum, Pierre, 77n11 Boegner, Philippe, 40 Bonijoly, D, 159 Bouillon, Jean-Luc, 2

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316 

SUBJECT INDEX

Bouquillion, Philippe, 47, 49, 248 Bourdieu, Pierre, 60, 95, 217n19, 259 Bourgeois, Dominique, 105 Bousquet, Franck, 107 Boyd, Douglas A., 182n1 Brabham, Daren C., 48 Brahimi, Brahim, 229, 231 Brunelle, Anne-Marie, 3 Bunt, Gary R., 188 Burger-Helmchen, Thierry, 48 Burstin, Haïm, 79 Buscatto, Marie, 109 C Cabrolié, Stéphane, 108 Cagé, Julia, 28, 29, 42 Camau, Michel, 259, 262 Cardon, Dominique, 69n4, 106 Cariou, Corentin, 9, 10 Carvajal, Miguel, 37 Certeau, Michel de, 284, 285 Chadwick, Andew, 201 Charaudeau, Patrick, 71, 71n5, 157, 164, 171, 174 Charon, Jean-Marie, 137, 188, 229n2 Chateauraynaud, Francis, 162 Cherubini, Federica, 105 Chesbrough, Henry. W., 48 Cheurfi, Achour, 232 Chouikha, Larbi, 231n3, 264, 268 Chouman, M., 288 Christie, Thomas B., 184 Chupin, Ivan, 22, 201 Clark, Andrew M., 184 Coe, Kevin, 108 Cohen, Anouk, 222 Costantini, Stéphane, 8, 20, 46 Cour des Comptes (French Court of Audit), 13, 14 Cunningham, Stuart, 181

D Dagiral, Éric, 229n2 Dakhlia, Jamil, 258 Damian-Gaillard, Béatrice, 145, 146 Daniels, Jessie, 111 Daucé, Françoise, 188, 201, 210 DDM (French Ministry of Culture, 136n2 Debaz, Josquin, 162 Degand, Amandine, 105 Delporte, Christian, 23 DGMIC (French Ministry of Culture), 136, 136n1, 136n2 Dickinson, Roger, 190 Dintrich, Antoine, 48 Direction du Budget, 13 Djaafer, S., 229, 253 Domingo, David, 105 Domínguez, Ana, 93, 94, 94n16, 97, 98 Douai, Aziz, 207 Douyère, David, 2 Dris, Cherif, 4, 228–230, 245 Duboc, Marie, 299 E El Amrani, Issandr, 192 El Bour, Hamida, 248 Elhaou, Mohamed-Ali, 260 El Kadi, Galila, 239n31, 285 El-Khawaga, Dina, 290, 295, 305 Eissa, Ibrahim, 193, 286, 290–294, 300–303, 301n16, 302n17 Engaging News Project, 107 Ervajec, Karmen, 105 Escobar, Arturo, 180 Estellés-Arolas, Enrique, 48

  SUBJECT INDEX 

F Fadl, Bilal, 285, 291n6, 293, 294, 301 Fakhreddine, Jihad N., 183, 185 Fandy, Mamoun, 185 Febrayer, 208 Ferchiche, Nassima, 252n62 Fleury, Béatrice, 2 Fonds des Médias du Canada, 48 Fontenelle, Sébastien, 29 Frau-Meigs, Divina, 182 Frère, Marie-Soleil, 206, 221 Freud, Sigmund, 69, 72, 73n8, 92 Freund, Andreas, 164 G Gafaïti, Hafid, 229 Galal, Ehab, 188 Garcia, José Luís, 47 García-Avilés, José A., 37 Geffray, Christian, 69, 69n3, 70, 72–74, 82, 83, 91, 92, 97, 100 George, Éric, 49 Gestin, Philippe, 135 Ghiglia, Marianna, 304 Giacobino, Laurent, 230, 241 Gímenez, Luis, 94, 97, 98 Goasdoué, Guillaume, 9, 10, 32, 33, 55, 59, 60 Gobe, Éric, 295, 296 Godechot, Olivier, 28 González, José L., 37 Gonzales-Ladrón-de-Guevara, Fernando, 48 Goodman, Emma, 105 Goulet, Vincent, 3, 68n1, 77n11, 100 Granjon, Fabien, 95 Guaaybess, Tourya, 3, 181, 182n1, 183, 183n2, 186, 193, 295 Guibert, Gérôme, 9 Guittard, Claude, 48

Gunter, Barrie, 190 Gurr, Ted, 70, 73, 74 H Habermas, Jürgen, 259 Haenni, Patrick, 188 Hafez, Kai, 181, 182n1 Hallin, Daniel C., 230, 245, 249, 251, 253 Hamamou, S., 286 Hammami, Sadok, 260, 269, 278 Hassan, Abdalla F., 190 Hayes, Ingrid, 90 Heaton, Lorna, 47 Heinderyck, François, 173 Heinonen, Ari, 105 Hermassi, Elbaki, 264n10, 265n11 Hermida, Alfred, 107 Hidass, Ahmed, 216, 217, 248, 249 Hills, M., 49 Hippel, Eric von, 48 Howe, John, 48, 49 Hubé, Nicolas, 22 Hughey, Matthew W., 111 I Institut Panos, 185 Irep, 12 J Jauss, Hans Robert, 71, 72, 72n6 Jeanneney, Jean-Noël, 137 Jenkins, Henry, 49 Jouët, Josiane, 105

317

318 

SUBJECT INDEX

K Kaciaf, Nicolas, 22 Kaiser, Marc, 8, 20, 46 Karatzogianni, Athina, 105 Kassem, Hisham, 192, 290, 298, 300 Kaufhold, Kelly, 107 Kenski, Kate, 108 Khalil, Joe F., 182n1 Klaus, Enrique, 4, 262n7 Koch, Olivier, 4 Kraemer, Gilles, 229 Kraidy, Marwan M., 182n1, 188 Krieg-Planque, Alice, 164 Kryzhanouski, Yauheni, 200, 202 Ksikes, Driss, 201n1, 205, 234n12 L Lafon, Pierre, 110n6 Lambert, Thomas, 48 Langonné, Joël, 135 Laplanche, Jean, 73n8 Lash, Scott, 49 Lasorsa, Dominic L., 107 Le Bohec, Jacques, 149 Le Carroff, Coralie, 105 Le Guern, Philippe, 49 Le Marec, Joëlle, 158 League of Arab States Council, 186 Lebraty, Jean-François, 48 Lemieux, Cyril, 157, 158 Lénine, 95 Leperlier, Tristan, 252n63 Lévy, Pierre, 48 Lewis, Seth C., 107 Libaert, Thierry, 162 Loicq, Marlène, 42 Lury, Celia, 49 Lynch, Marc, 187 Lyubareva, Inna, 10

M Mancini, Paolo, 230, 245, 249, 251, 253 Marchetti, Dominique, 4, 200 Martin, Marc, 41, 42, 137 Marty, Emmanuel, 3, 38n22, 107 Marx, Karl, 99 Mattelart, Armand, 182 Matthews, Jacob, 47–49, 51 Méadel, Cécile, 68n2 Mellor, Noha, 189 Ménard, Marc, 47 Mendel, Toby, 190 Mennissi, Ahmad, 289 Merah, Aissa, 229 Mercier, Arnaud, 188 Miège, Bernard, 47 Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (French Ministry for Culture and Communication), 11, 14 Moeglin, Pierre, 248 Monqid, Safaa, 286 Moore, James F., 50 Morrison, Sara, 108 Mostefaoui, Belkacem, 229, 251, 252 Mouillaud, Maurice, 150, 151 Mouterde, Raphaël, 88 Myles, Brian, 60 N Naïmi, Mohamed, 201 Najar, Sihem, 185 National Authority for Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC), 259n1, 265n12, 266, 269, 273 Nechushtai, Efrat, 16 Nielsen, Carolyn E., 107 Nouaydi, Abdelaziz, 218

  SUBJECT INDEX 

O Offerlé, Michel, 289 Oger, Claire, 164 OJD (French association establishing newspaper circulation figures, former name of ACPM), 136n1, 205 Ollivier-Yaniv, Caroline, 2 O’Reilly, Tim, 49 Ostromooukhova, Bella, 200 Ottaway, Marina, 216 Ouakrat, Alan, 234 P Padioleau, Jean-G., 298n13 Pailliart, Isabelle, 137 Parasie, Sylvain, 229n2 Paulussen, Steve, 105 Pélissier, Nicolas, 229n2 Pénin, Julien, 48 Pignard-Cheynel, Nathalie, 107 Poler Kovacic, Melita, 105 Pontalis, J.-B., 73n8 Poulet, Bernard, 259 Pöyhtäry, Reeta, 108 Présidence de la République tunisienne - Bureau of information and communication, 266n14 Proulx, Serge, 47 Q Quandt, Thorsten, 105 Quéré, Louis, 68, 69 R Raboy, Marc, 47 Rains, Stephen A., 108

319

Ratinaud, Pierre, 110n6 Reader, Bill, 107 Rebillard, Franck, 2, 9, 29, 42, 104, 229n2 Reinert, Max, 110n6 Rimbert, Pierre, 25, 25n7 Ringlet, Gabriel, 145, 150 Ringoot, Roselyne, 39, 166, 172 Roberts, Sarah T., 106, 108, 109 Rochelandet, Fabrice, 10 Rouzé, Vincent, 37, 42, 48 Rouziès, Frédéric, 88 Ruellan, Denis, 23, 24, 40, 145, 146, 149, 194 Rugh, William A., 182n1, 184 S Sacher, William, 159 Sahar, Ali, 241n34 Said, Mohamed, 297n9 Sakr, Naomi, 182n1, 185 Saleh, S., 287 Samarajiwa, Rohan, 182 Schenk, Éric, 48 Schiller, Herbert. I., 181 Schwienbacher, Armin, 48 Sebbah, Brigitte, 107 Sénécal, Michel, 3, 47 Shams El-Din, Mai, 193 Shirky, Clay, 49 Sinclair, John, 181, 186 Singer, Jane B., 105 Sire, Guillaume, 29 Smyrnaios, Nikos, 3, 9, 12, 14, 15, 29, 36, 38n22, 105, 229n2 Snow, Nancy, 185 Souriau-Hoebrechts, Christiane, 261n5, 262 SPIIL (French union of independent online news media), 10, 13

320 

SUBJECT INDEX

Stein, Marieke, 3, 32 Sternhell, Zeev, 70 Surowiecki, James, 48 T Taiebi-Moussaoui, Fatma-Zohra, 229, 238, 242 Tétu, Jean-François, 150, 151 Thiesse, Anne-Marie, 77, 99n18 Thurman, Neil, 107 Thussu, Daya Kishan, 180 Tilly, Charles, 95 Touati, Zeineb, 259 Tredan, Olivier, 135 Trygg, Sanna, 108 Tunis Centre for Press Freedom, 265n11

U Unesco, 194 V Vachet, Jérémy Joseph, 48 Van Hove, Florence, 105 Vujnovic, Marina, 105 W Walter, Jacques, 2 Weisser, Marc, 97n17 Willis, Paul E., 49 Z Zamit, Fredj, 260 Zévaès, Alexandre, 80