Radio France International, Monte Carlo Doualiya, and France 24 "finally merge," and claim record large audiences.

Posted: 18 Feb 2012   Print   Send a link
Broadband TV News, 14 Feb 2012, Robert Briel: "French international broadcaster Radio France International (RFI), its Arabic language subsidiary Monte Carlo Doualiya, and l’Audiovisuel extérieur de la France (AEF) have finally endorsed its merger with the France 24 news channel. The merger will now go through, despite opposition from journalists and unions at France 24 and RFI. François Hollande, the socialist candidate for the French presidency, also signed a petition against the merger of RFI-France 24. In a statement, the AEF stressed that the merger 'allows the creation of a French broadcasting group of international dimensions.' AEF is the holding company of France 24 and is fully owned by the French state. In a statement, AEF CEO, Alain de Pouzilhac, said: 'With RFI, France 24 and Monte Carlo Doualiya now in a single firm combining their strengths, their talents and their expertise we can now broadcast the values of France with a single eye on all modes of distribution.'

"Broadband TV Views: When the French state established the international news channel France 24 in order to fight Anglo-Saxon dominance of the international news media, people already raised eyebrows that a separate organisation was set up. The French state was already active promoting its culture and language through the means of Radio France International (RFI), RFO (the state broadcaster for overseas departments and territories), Canal France International (a subsidiary of state broadcaster France Télévisions) and the involvement of France Télévisions in the international operations of TV5. Although RFI is radio and France 24 television, it makes perfect sense to join the operations, especially in times of cutbacks of public service broadcasters around Europe. But its workers seem to have trouble facing today’s realities. As an outsider, we can only look in amazement how the French state tries to control radio and TV. After World War Two, the French state even took active part through its holding company SOFIRAD in the private radio stations that were broadcasting from across the border into France, such as RMC (Monte Carlo), Europe 1, Sud Radio and Radio Andorre." -- If the French can consolidate their international broadcasting, then surely the Americans also can. See also Le Monde, 16 Feb 2012, Daniel Psenny and Xavier Ternisien.

Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France press release, 16 Feb 2012: "France 24, RFI and Monte Carlo Doualiya – have doubled their audience worldwide in three years. In 2011, the three AEF media notched up a combined weekly audience of over 90 million viewers and listeners, compared to 45 million in 2008. In three years, FRANCE 24’s weekly audience has quadrupled, rising to 43.5 million viewers; RFI has recorded a 30% increase to over 39 million listeners, while Monte Carlo Doualiya boasts 50% growth with 7.6 million listeners. This success is largely due to the emergence of a highly competitive Arabic international news service. Since October 2010, when FRANCE 24 started 24-hour daily broadcasts in Arabic, the channel has tripled its audience in the Maghreb region and has become the leading French channel in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. ... In French-speaking Africa, AEF’s media have also become extremely popular. In three years, RFI has consolidated its market share in the region and is now one of the general public’s favorite radio stations as well as a must for opinion leaders. The radio station is also developing its audience in non-French-speaking Africa, where its vehicular language programs, in Hausa for example, have seen their audiences increase by nearly 80%, allowing the radio station to gain market share in non-French-speaking countries, such as Nigeria. It is worth pointing out that the station is also highly successful in Haiti, where 2 million listeners currently tune in every week. Only five years since its inception, FRANCE 24 has become the leading 24/7 international news channel in several African countries with a weekly audience of 19 million viewers. In the Middle East, Monte Carlo Doualiya has recorded a spectacular recovery in its market share and has successfully gained ground in the region with the installation of new FM transmitters, notably in Lebanon, Libya and Iraq. In the last three years, the group’s media have also all made significant progress on the Internet and in the new media. In 2011, a total of nearly 200 million Internet users visited the websites of FRANCE 24, RFI and Monte Carlo Doualiya, which chalked up over 800 million page views. Lastly, on the social media, AEF’s brands represent one of the largest Internet communities treating international news and boast over 1.5 million Facebook fans and over 500,000 Twitter subscribers through a range of multi-lingual pages."

Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France press release, 14 Feb 2012: "Le Président de l’Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France Alain de Pouzilhac a nommé ce jour Anne-Marie Capomaccio et Nahida Nakad Directrices des rédactions unifiées de France 24, Monte Carlo Doualiya et RFI." -- I understand that Nakad will be responsible for France 24, and Copomaccio for the radio services RFI and MCD. See also Le Monde/AFP, 14 Feb 2012.

RFI Riposte, 16 Feb 2012: RFI journalists reject the idea of a "French style journalism," as asserted by their new managers.

France 24 press release, 15 Feb 2012: "FRANCE 24 has concluded a new distribution agreement in Asia and launches today on SINGTEL, the largest telecommunications company in Singapore. FRANCE 24 English version is now available 24/7 to 350 000 households via the MiO offer, while the French version will be available 'à la carte' for 9.90 Singapore dollars (6 Euros) per month. FRANCE 24 French version will be available on channel 40 and the English channel on channel 41."

Reporters sans frontières, 15 Feb 2012: "Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the complete disregard for the rights of the defence in the trial of journalist Hassan Ruvakuki and 22 other people on terrorism charges in connection with the activities of a new rebel group in the east of the country. A reporter for Bonesha FM and the Swahili service of Radio France Internationale, Ruvakuki was arrested in the capital on 28 November after interviewing an alleged member of the rebel group, the Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD-Abanyagihugu)."

Shanghaiist, 16 Feb 2012, Kenneth Tan, Fan Huang and Jessica Colwell: "France 24's Baptiste Fallevoz and his Chinese fixer Jack Zhang tell Shanghaiist they were driving toward the village when they noticed a black car following them. After trying to evade the car and failing, they decided to just ignore it and continue towards the village. As they approached Panhe, they passed four or five cars parked on the shoulder with men waiting nearby. They saw the men answer their cell phones, hurry into their cars, and join the black car behind them. When Zhang gradually slowed down for a truck crossing in front of them, they were suddenly hit from behind. About 20-30 plainclothes thugs then surrounded their car and pulled Zhang out, trying to grab his video camera from him (he was not filming at the time). When they got the camera, they threw it on the ground and smashed it in front of him. They then continued to attempt to attack Zhang, hitting him on the head with the camera until he started bleeding."