Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the "Press Dinner", Fête del'Humanité

On the occasion of this confraternal dinner organized by L'Humanité, it is
its illustrious founder Jean JAURES, whose
celebrated the 150th anniversary last year…. I therefore gladly lend myself to
exercise in making mine one of his famous quotations: Abundance
is the result of good administration.”
As you know, the State has long been committed to
preserve and accompany the development of this pillar of life
the information press. The state still has this support
confirmed at the end of the General Statements of the Press, with the
a massive and exceptional plan. The sector is recovering today,
difficult, but with the energy of the most serious crisis he has experienced in
over the past fifty years.
However, the relationship between the Press and the State is so unique
in our country does not fail to create questions,
tensions, even suspicions…. But was Hubert BEUVE MERY not
not used to remember that journalism is about contact and
It is in this spirit that I wish to refer to you the report of the
mission CARDOSO which was given to me yesterday. It is dedicated to one of the points
the most tangible contact that the press has with the State. I speak
assistance to the press. That is why I give the greatest
importance to this report, which like BEUVE MERY has the immense merit
seek the right balance between contact and distance.
In 2009, after the Estates General, some aids were reformed and
others have been created, to revitalize the press and give it the means
to adapt to the changes they are facing. To this end, the
exceptional financial resources have been mobilized by my department
since 2009.
To save the press in a period of deep crisis, reforms
were necessary. We hired them. But they didn’t
the organization of aid. They have, however, added
the complexity that gives rise to criticism, suspicions about the way
the State administers such aid.
Paradoxically, while the legitimacy of public aid to the press has its
critics, she begins to find an echo abroad in a
global crisis. Protecting the means of expression and the
pluralism of information, guaranteeing the principle of neutrality: these are the
objectives that the French government will continue to defend. Fears
threat to the independence of the investigation in the event of
public intervention must be lifted.
Public aid must also be a catalyst for change. Yet the
current device is the result of a historical sedimentation of measurements. The
leave as is, is run the risk of seeing deferred reforms
yet indispensable - especially in the face of the challenges of
digital revolution.
This report sets a course for a more effective intervention of powers
public authorities, particularly with a view to the arrangements put in place at the end of the
of the Estates General. I share the main analyses, and count
study very quickly, with François BAROIN, in connection with the
the main proposals.
Fortunately the Estates General had the wisdom not to
conclude only by distributing new envelopes or
the opening of new “windows”. The 2009
the President of the Republic allow us to provide answers
and strong for the sector as a whole.
The government has fully assumed its role: with you it has identified the
industry issues. I am thinking of the distribution of the
press, the digital revolution, the reconquest of readership and
public trust. It used the fiscal levers to
promote investment, with the creation of a development fund
online press services; with the creation of a structuring aid
with support for the sale of the number and the
training. It has also promoted regulation, in
establishing a new legal framework for copyright management
plurimedia voted in June 2009.
But it is right now that we must focus on “post-State Generals”,
in order to continue the economic consolidation they announced.
If we want the public contribution to this reform to be
it must be organised on a solid basis,
virtuous and irreproachable. The complex landscape of press aids
today looks like a maquis. As it stands, it does not allow to elaborate and
lead a global strategy towards the sector.
It is therefore necessary to review the terms of this contribution in order to
strengthen. In this regard, I hope that public support for the press
to regain the civic momentum that has enabled their implementation since the
Liberation. I also know that at the same time
adapt to the new demands of our time, and meet the challenges
of the future.
What we must aim for together is the inclusion of pluralism
press in the long term. For this, it is necessary that
its enterprises can achieve financial autonomy in the medium term
They are not obliged to rely on public subsidies.
Let us be clear: This is by no means a withdrawal from
the State. What we must strive for is a State intervention that
can play its full role as a lever. What we need to move towards,
they are strong, independent and therefore
capable of greatly enriching the democratic debate.
This is the spirit of the devices installed for three years at the end of the States
general. I hope that a forum bringing together representatives of the State
and press professionals can meet in October. I will ensure
personally at his installation.
This forum will have the mission to define in the coming year
the modalities of application of the measures of the CARDOSO mission that
will eventually be retained by the government.
I would like to quote some of the key measures that are being proposed.
in the extremely well-researched and argued report that comes from
give me Aldo Cardoso:
- the generalisation of the principle of contractualisation of aid on
base of measurable commitments, based on the principle of conventions
signed since March 2010 with the recipients of the
Modernization of the press (FDM) and of the
online press (SPEL);
- the creation of a strategic fund bringing together direct aid to
- the installation of a new control of aid supplemented by a
independent and strengthened control and validation body. This
ensure transparency and efficiency and neutrality of
the public intervention.
The proposed method of operation could thus allow a dialogue
between the State and the beneficiary publishers. It would also be more
flexible: the State could thus set the priorities of its
intervention in line with real market needs.
The new Strategic Fund proposed by the CARDOSO mission aims to
merging a dozen existing schemes. It would only concern aid
direct to publishers.
Aid for pluralism, in particular the fund to help daily newspapers to
low advertising resources, would not immediately enter the
scope of the strategic fund. This is to ensure clarity and
From this point of view, I attach particular importance to the question
of distribution.
As part of its mission, Aldo CARDOSO has rightly made one of them
the four fundamental axes of its report.
The government has taken action in this area. It is committed to you.
I also welcome the mobilization of the profession. It has demonstrated
commitment and determination as to the envisaged developments of the Council
Superior of Messageries de Presse (CSMP) or
support for PRESSTALIS’s recovery plan.
I will ensure that all the recommendations in the METTLING report are
implementation as quickly as possible. Thanks to the help of the group
Press publishers and the Lagardère Group, financial support
essential has been provided in order to guarantee the sustainability of the messaging.
The State has taken its full part to preserve the balance in the
distribution of national daily newspapers. The bulk of the PRESSTALIS storm is
now behind us. The clouds are not dissipated. The
Government remains fully committed, alongside you, to pursue the
necessary reforms announced in May.
These reforms include the reorganization of the
and the establishment of new professional standards. These
facilitate the work of all sales agents. They will
inevitably be completed a strengthening of regulation
professional system. The Superior Council of Messengers of
Press (CSMP) must have the appropriate means, without it being worn
to the cooperative principles to which the profession remains highly
This concern is my own.
The proposed reform will give the CSMP real powers
decisions that will be imposed on the entire profession. Its general missions
will be redefined, its competences strengthened. A
CSMP in order to ensure compliance with the
More generally, a reflection on the foundations and modernization of
public intervention is needed
As Aldo CARDOSO points out, it is important to move from a
aimed at helping players and an industry, to a logic dedicated to
accompanying a function - that of informing - and a process» -
innovation. It is this spirit, resolutely focused on
content and audiences, which guides my work in favour of the
Ministry of Culture and Communication.
This formula is particularly appropriate at the time of the second
phase of the Estates General, in which we enter from the ground up. A
the time of multimedia convergence and the dematerialisation of
information, it is about giving you the means to adapt content,
trades and practices. In other words, to
digitization a chance and not a scarecrow.
It’s not just the industrial tool or the distribution network
of the press that must be put in order. We must also
ensure that creativity and inventiveness, faced with
disruptions of the digital age, do not exhaust themselves and reinvent themselves.
This is good because the question of the evolution of content and
professional practices is essential that we are resolutely
We have acted on three levels:
1. clarification of the conditions for the exploitation of multimedia content
through the law of June 2009;
2. support for the development of online press services with the
creation of a new specific fund;
3. the development of the resources devoted to the essential question of
vocational training.
The success of the Online Press Services Fund is no longer
demonstrate. The number of files filed since the
device, both by print publishers and by new
digital actors, as evidenced.
I would also like to pay special tribute to the diligence of my services, which
have been able to adapt to the increasing demand.
Of course, nothing is perfect. The efforts made with Brussels by the
French government so that the VAT rate of the digital press is
aligned with the reduced rates of the paper press must in particular be
continued. Please know that I remain attentive to this legitimate and
Access to new media is the “new frontier” of our
policy. I would like to commend the initiative of the national daily press in
the launch of a digital kiosk. This initiative is a testament to
of a clear will and a shared ambition: to federate all the
actors, revalorize news content, develop models
innovative economic.
Since this new technological revolution – one more in this
profession – changes the practices and professions of journalists, I have
wished to associate my ministry to the National Conference of Trades of
Journalism, which will be held on 29 and 30 September in Paris. It will be
under the joint patronage of Valérie PECRESSE, Minister of
Higher Education and Research, and Laurent WAUQUIEZ,
Secretary of State in charge of Employment. This triple sponsorship shows the interest
that the government is addressing this issue.
This is the first time that the profession has gathered around the same table
to consider the future of professional training for journalists.
Greater visibility and readability are essential. It is a
for today’s journalists and publishers. It is also a
for those of tomorrow. I hope that your profession, in all
its richness, in all its diversity, actively participates in it.
In the ambition of a “culture for everyone” that animates my action rue de
Valois, there is the will to reap all the promises of the digital age.
Our content requirement must be intact in order to promote
access to clear and accessible information for all
its origins, its social and cultural horizons, whatever its location
residence, regardless of age as well.
I am thinking in particular of young people. They are the readers of tomorrow, they are
the future of the press in our country. It is to their attention that we have
launched the "My Journal Offered" operation, which is proving to be a
tremendous success, with nearly 300,000 registrations of young people from 18 to 24
years at its first edition.
On the model of what made its success in 2009, there will be a
“Season 2”. It will be launched in mid-October for 2010-2011.
The reconquest of readers, including the younger ones, requires
ethical requirements. This is an ambition to which the project
of code of ethics proposed by Bruno FRAPPAT should participate
actively. I note unfortunately that we are celebrating these days his
first anniversary and the profession still hasn’t
captured. Again, I can only encourage you to gather
around this text. You can’t miss this chance
to affirm your values, in the hour of mass democratization
Your readers wouldn’t understand it!
Finally, I wanted to tell you very simply the attention I pay to the
preservation of a pluralistic, free and independent press. In you
Recalling this, I think of Jean FERRAT’s battles for freedom, the
fight of the poet to whom the FEAST OF HUMANITE pays tribute this
year, in the fight of the rebellious who sang: Close your gates, farms
your cages, freedom is on the move».
This commitment against all forms of censorship and intolerance is
also ours today, the one we are leading for the liberation of Hervé
GHESQUIERE and Stéphane TAPONIER. Tonight I have a thought for
they, their families and loved ones.