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CNews put on formal notice by the CSA for having relegated to night schedules the word of the government and rebellious France

The formal notices of the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) against CNews multiply. The audiovisual regulator accuses the news channel, controlled by Vincent Bolloré, of having largely relegated the government and France Insoumise to very low audience hours, during night programs. The CSA therefore ordered CNews, Friday, December 3, to respect its obligations in terms of pluralism.

In a decision published on its site, the CSA noted that between 1er October and November 15, « A very significant proportion of the interventions of the executive and of La France insoumise were broadcast in programs scheduled between midnight and 5:59 am ». According to the CSA’s count, « More than 82% of the total volume of speeches by members of the executive and more than 53% of the speaking time of representatives of La France insoumise » were broadcast in this time slot.

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The Canal + group is contesting

“It appears, moreover, that the executive and rebellious France were the only categories of stakeholders to be subject to such massively unfavorable programming conditions and resulting, between 6 a.m. and 11.59 p.m., in a sub – marked representation, with respective proportions of 8.6% and 3.7% of the total intervention time on this time slot ”, adds the guarantor of media pluralism in France.

The CSA reports having alerted on November 3, by mail, CNews, which belongs to Canal +, owned by Vivendi, on « The need to ensure a more balanced exposure of political parties with regard to broadcasting schedules ». On November 23, the Canal + group had « Contested the position adopted by the Council and refrained from announcing measures likely to absorb, even partially, the observed imbalances ».

Read also The CSA warns CNews against « the absence of diversity of the points of view expressed » in two emissions of Pascal Praud

Outside the election period – which is still the case today, until 1er January – the rule is to give the floor for a third of the time to the executive (that is to say the President of the Republic, his collaborators and members of the government), recalls the CSA. Believing that CNews has not respected its obligations, the CSA therefore puts the chain on notice to comply. « By December 31, 2021 and in the future ».

Possible sanction

Asked by Agence France-Presse (AFP), CNews’ communications department said that « In accordance with the law, the CNews channel will respect the speaking times on December 31 ». A formal notice constitutes a sort of warning and exposes CNews, in the event of a repeat offense, to a sanction which can range from a fine to a suspension of the broadcasting of a program, including temporary deprivation of advertising.

The process of relegating certain policies to late hours is fairly standard, and CNews isn’t the only 24-hour news channel to have done so. At the end of 2020, LCI was criticized for broadcasting interventions by environmentalist Yannick Jadot at late hours.

Read also CNews formal notice by the CSA for breach of its obligations in terms of political pluralism

This is not the first time that CNews has had a problem with the CSA. Last September, the channel had to deprive its star, Eric Zemmour, the locomotive of its audiences since 2019, of its program « Face à l’Info », forced, like all audiovisual media, by the CSA to count the speaking time of the polemicist, who has become, since November 30, a presidential candidate.

Last June, the CSA had, moreover, already put the chain on notice, but for another matter: he then reproached him for having given too much voice to the candidate of the RN for the regional elections in Ile-de-France, compared to other lists. And, in March, the CSA had fined CNews 200,000 euros for « Incitement to hatred » and « To violence » following Eric Zemmour’s remarks on unaccompanied minor migrants.

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