Editors at France’s public broadcaster France Télévisions will be offered a financial bonus to talk more on-air about European subjects after being accused of offering a lack of European Union coverage.
Editors of France Télévisions have been given a set of objectives in recent months, including an increase in diversity and coverage of Europe, with the objectives tied to the performance-linked part of their paycheque.
According to a report from French newspaper Le Monde, the financial incentives to cover Europe come after a study by the Jean-Jaurès Foundation from December 2019 revealed the broadcaster spent just 2.7 per cent of its time talking about the European Union.
In 2019, when former German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was made European Commission President, the news programme 20 Hours on the channel France 2 spent only a total of a few seconds mentioning Von der Leyen’s inauguration.
Clément Beaune, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, backed measures to increase broadcaster coverage of Europe, last year saying the country needed to “strengthen the mechanisms that lead our public channels to talk more about Europe”. He added: “Let us look for all possible means of coercion or pressure to achieve this.”
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According to Le Monde, the issue is a focus for President Emmanuel Macron as he assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first six months of 2022, the year of the next French presidential election.
The move to increase press coverage of the European Union comes after former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated in 2018 that press freedom should “have limits”, specifically referencing the British press.
The European Union also released its own guidelines for journalists in 2017 telling reporters not to talk to “extremists” about mass migration and not to mention the ethnicity of migrant criminals in their work, either.