MPs validate in committee the merger of public broadcasting in 2026 | EUROtoday

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The deputies authorised Tuesday night in committee the precept of a merger of the general public audiovisual media, a reform desired by the Minister of Culture Rachida Dati, based on whom “the political moment has come”. However, elected officers excluded France Médias Monde from the longer term holding firm, in an in depth vote.

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“The political moment has come” for a “merger” of France Télévisions and Radio France in 2026, insisted Tuesday, May 14, the Minister of Culture Rachida Dati in entrance of the deputies who within the night authorised in committee the precept of this huge bang public broadcasting.

After an “intermediate phase” below a holding regime in 2025, “the purpose” of this reform is “the single company”, bringing collectively France Télévisions, Radio France, France Médias Monde (RFI, France 24) and Ina ( National Audiovisual Institute) on January 1, 2026, recalled Rachida Dati.

The key modification was adopted by 30 votes for, 18 in opposition to, these of the left and the MoDem. The ally of the presidential majority requires not going “too far too quickly”.

“The subject is ripe,” argues the minister for her half. According to her, public broadcasting has “undeniable strengths” however immediately “dispersed”, which exposes it to a “risk of weakening” within the face of competitors from worldwide platforms like Netflix.

The large firm would have a funds of 4 billion euros and the reform would have an effect on 16,000 staff.

A recurring topic for the reason that election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017, this main reform has taken form at lightning pace in latest months. As quickly as she took workplace in January, the minister mentioned she wished to “bring together the forces” of public broadcasting by going additional than the present mergers between France Télévisions and Radio France.

The deputies of the Cultural Affairs Committee, nonetheless, excluded France Médias Monde (FMM) from the longer term holding firm, in an in depth vote. “FMM does not at all meet the same objectives and the same challenges,” argued Martine Froger (Liot group). However, parliamentarians might come again to this provision later.

Strike in sight

The textual content, validated in a single day in committee, should endure first studying within the hemicycle on May 23 and 24, barring a legislative logjam which might push it again to June 24 and even September. Opposed to the undertaking, the Radio France unions have already known as a strike for 2 days in May.

To assure adoption, the minister, from the Les Républicains (LR) social gathering, adopted a textual content adopted in June 2023 within the Senate, dominated by the precise. Led by Laurent Lafon (Centrist Union), it offers for the creation of a easy holding firm known as France Médias.

Tuesday, LR deputy Maxime Minot demonstrated his group's “support” for the undertaking and “its ambition”. The RN group can also be in favor.

The left, for its half, is up in opposition to the reform. It is “the culmination of the denigration and weakening” of the general public service at work for the reason that arrival of Emmanuel Macron to energy, mentioned the rebellious Ségolène Amiot.

The authorities is transferring ahead “blindly”, with a “wet finger” coverage, launched the socialist Iñaki Echaniz. “It’s not the return of the ORTF that will allow us to compete with Netflix,” added environmentalist Sophie Taillé-Polian.

Advertising, a tough level

The Head of State had advocated a rapprochement in 2017 by drawing up a harsh remark on public broadcasting. Franck Riester, predecessor of Rachida Dati, carried out a holding undertaking in 2019 that was stopped by Covid-19.

The minister assures that the reform have to be carried out as rapidly as attainable, earlier than the top of the mandate of the president of France Télévisions, Delphine Ernotte Cunci, in 2025. But, based on an actor within the sector, additionally it is a approach for her to have “an assessment” of Culture earlier than working for mayor of Paris in 2026.

To present monetary reassurance, Renaissance MP Quentin Bataillon ready with Jean-Jacques Gaultier (LR) a textual content establishing a long-term allocation from the State funds for the good thing about public broadcasting (“levy on revenues”), on the mannequin of neighborhood financing.

Since the removing of the payment in 2022, the sector has been financed by a fraction of VAT, based on a provisional mechanism. The delicate topic of promoting additionally animated the discussions in committee. A authorities modification planning to raise the ceiling on public broadcasting promoting income was adopted. But the topic have to be reworked, the parliamentarians pledged.

Private audiovisual gamers are fiercely against this removing of the ceiling and LR deputies make it a troublesome level. “It’s a race for audiences, and the commercial logic is not that of public service,” warned Jean-Jacques Gaultier.

With AFP