I asked Axel Poniatowski, member of parliament for the ruling party UMP what signal he thinks the appointment of mr. Solly gives:
"It's really mainly a personal choice from him and for his career. First of all, TF1 is a private company, so it is managed on the rules of private business, and secondly, Laurent Solly is a very talented young man, who is making the choice to go in the private sector rather than to continue in the public sector. He has been with Nicolas Sarkozy for four years, as his cabinet director, and he is just making the choice to go in private business. There is just nothing abnormal in this situation."
Television station TF1 did not want to give any comment when asked.
But French media watchdog Reporters Without Borders signals a growing discontent among the public with the media. This is Jean-Francois Julliard of the Paris based organization:
"It is one of the reasons why French citizens today don't really trust the media. Half of the people in France don't really trust the media. Because they have the feeling that there are some very close links between political leaders and journalists, seeing the fact that journalists start to work with the government, and former people belonging to political parties are now involved in very high level responsibilities in some very important media. But we think it is up to the media to determine what they can accept and what they can't." But is it? President Sarkozy is good friends with many of the French media moguls, and one phonecall by the president just might be enough to stop a story.
"It's a very bad signal, because it gives the impression that even the private media in this country are under direct control from the presidency. And that's the image that has been spread all over the campaign. When the owner of one of the biggest mediagroups in this country describes the president as his brother and when this owner of this newspaper sensors his own newspaper because it has embarrassing reports about the wife of the president, that is really bad. And when it touches the biggest channel in the country, with the number two of the channel coming straight from the staff of the president, I think this is quite unacceptable and quite shocking for the spirit of freedom of speech in this country."
"I really think that this point is quite absurd, excuse me of the formula, but Berlusconi owns all his tv and radio channels, Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't own anything. So we are in two completely different situations."
Well, maybe as a result of all the criticism two journalists who were married to newly appointed ministers, will change the nature of their job. Christine Ockrent, a star journalist with France's third channel, is married to Bernard Kouchner, minister of Foreign Affairs, and Beatrice Schoenberg a presenter with France's second channel, is the wife of Finance minister Jean-Louis Borloo. Both women announced they won't do politically sensitive programs anymore.
But will this be enough to calm public distrust of the media in France? Only time will tell.Listen to the report:
The president of Romania Traian Basescu has survived an impeachment referendum. On May the 19th, Romanians decided to go on with their popular, reformist president. He was suspended a month ago by a Parliamentary majority on allegations that he violated the Constitution. But shortly after Basescu was in hot water again for calling a journalist a “dirty gypsy”.
It is a sticky issue that politicians across Europe are having to ponder, with the entry of far right parties into mainstream politics. Sweden's far right party, the Sweden Democrats, burst into the limelight after success in the country's regional elections last autumn. They held their annual conference last weekend. While not so long ago, the event might have only recorded a minor headline or two, these days the anti-immigrant party is big news. So much so, that the country's politicians are now not only engaging in public debate with the party, they're receiving tips on how to do it.
More and more expatriates or expats are getting involved in politics in Spain, for instance in the country’s local elections. Namely, from the country’s large expat community. For more than a decade, European Union citizens have had the right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections, in any EU country if they live there as residents. Until now these expats have been keeping relatively quiet, but that’s no longer the case. In Spain, for the first time, independent political parties with more non-Spanish than Spanish candidates are taking part in local elections.
We Head to the southern Polish city of Krakow, for a tour of the Kazimierz district, a Jewish quarter from late-medieval times... Most of the sixty thousand Jews who lived there before World War Two were murdered by the Nazis. Small wonder that the city’s Jewish past was in danger of being consigned to oblivion.
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