Chirac wants a French global news channel

MUMBAI: Joining the bandwagon of international news channels like CNN, BBC World will be a French news channel.



According to a report in The Telegraph (France), President Jacques Chirac has demanded that the blueprint for the news service - already nicknamed "CNN a la Francaise" - be ready by the end of this month as he has become increasingly irritated by the "Anglo-Saxon" view of global events being beamed into millions of homes and hotel rooms around the world.

He wants to challenge America's domination of international affairs by extending French language and influence, the report adds.

"We've been concerned for a long time that the BBC and CNN are reporting on events from a British or American perspective and in English," a Government official is quoted as having said in the report. "As recent events have shown, France may see things differently and we feel it is important that we get our message across," he added.

A Reuters report , however states that the French channel would be a round-the-clock, global TV news channel modelled on US and British news channels like CNN and BBC World. it further quotes the French president as saying, "This is a legitimate aspiration for our country and I would like to see it happen.Moreover France needed to be more present in the battle of pictures,through TV sets across the globe."

France's parliament had set up a committee in December 2002 to study how such a TV operation could be financed and operated. The committee is expected to publish its conclusions by June 2003.

"This would be something completely different. The target audience would be foreigners, rather than French expatriates, the idea being to offer a different viewpoint to existing news media like CNN," one parliamentarian involved is quoted as having said in the Reuters report.

France has a domestic cable news channel, LCI, owned by commercial television group TF1, which broadcasts news bulletins, current affairs programmes and interviews. However, it has limited international reach.

Apart from CNN and BBC world, another popular 24-hour international channel in Europe is Euronews, whose main shareholders are Britain's ITN and public broadcasters in France, Spain, Italy and Russia. Euronews is broadcast in seven languages and can be seen in Canada, the Middle East, eastern Europe and Russia.

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