Mr President, dear François d'Orcival,Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Friends, You may know that VOLTAIRE wrote Conseils to a journalist. And as always, he summed up his thought in a striking phrase: You ask me how to make a newspaper work for our century and for posterity. I will answer in two words: Be impartial».
Well, one of the most effective ways to be impartial, you know and it’s tradition,
since its origins of the Syndicat Professionnel de la Presse Magazine et d'Opinion (SPPMO),
is probably to welcome all the parties, that is to say to be plural.
Since your founder and first president, the great resistant Emilien AMAURY, pluralism
is your practice and ethics. I cannot tell you how much I find, as
as a citizen, but also, of course, as Minister of Culture and
Communication, that this is an extremely healthy attitude and that I know highly
necessary for the very life and breath of our democracy. I watched with admiration
the composition of your board of directors, which, in keeping with the original inspiration of your
Union, brings together all the trends, all the nuances of opinion and who does it without
compromise, without cronyism, but with a strong belief in the intrinsic value of diversity
thoughts and their confrontation. I know, dear François D'ORCIVAL, the work that you
I would also like to congratulate you personally.
Today more than ever, when this phenomenon is often discussed in the name of
strange that constitutes the «disintermediation», I prefer to say the erasure of intermediaries,
I know how necessary the opinion press is for the development of the critical mind of
citizens, because it gives us keys to understand the changes of the contemporary world
and to make the difference between an epidermal self-expression sometimes up to brutality and
opinions built, developed in exchange and based on information.
This is not a denial of reality on my part. The digital revolution, which I have identified
as a priority of my action, has had considerable consequences on the universe of the
of the press as a whole, and of the opinion press in particular, by the
multiplying the expressions it has caused.
The press – and we are all very aware of this, the magazine and opinion press in
particular – is going through a difficult period marked by an economic situation that
deeply affected. This crisis also had a virtue: the first is that of debate,
to which you are rightly attached. The States General of the Press have made it possible to
measure the magnitude of the upheavals and the depth of the mutations, they were also the
first of all to respond to this crisis and to define the means necessary to help it
overcome the obstacles it faces.
Your union took its full part in these debates and defended, with all families of
the necessary mechanisms of solidarity. The State has wished to fully associate itself
to this process, and on several levels.
One of the priorities was to put in place a MORATORIUM to temporarily postpone the
increase in postal rates provided for in the “PRESS AGREEMENTS – POST” of July 2008.
compensation for the shortfall for La Poste resulted in the registration of 25.4 million
of euros in the Amended Finance Law in 2009 and 28 million were again entered
the Finance Bill for 2010.
The effects of this one-year moratorium will have long-term consequences. They will translate
cost during the seven years covered by the agreement. I recall that this additional cost, recorded
to the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, is valued at no less than 233
However, the agreement has not been called into question by the moratorium, its tariff component has
just put in brackets for 2009. But all the others
components of the July 2008 Memorandum of Understanding apply, including the
productivity of the postal service and the roll-out of the CAP QUALITÉ COURRIER program
(CQC) to improve the distribution of newspapers to list subscribers.
A follow-up committee, chaired by Pierre BORDRY, whose knowledge of the sector makes
a unanimously recognized authority has been established to play a monitoring role and
monitor the progress of this important agreement. It met on three
the beginning of the year and its activity is one of the signs of the
The State should help publishers and La Poste to keep this course and to accompany them.
The issue of extending the moratorium, which you raised, is extremely important.
and I wanted it to be considered. If it were to be considered, it would result in a
of the State, which would necessarily have to
offset the cost in La Poste’s accounts.
The 2009 moratorium, an exceptional emergency measure, was certainly justified by
economic conditions. Today, even though the
situation has not yet really improved, we have objective reasons
hope that the context will be clarified. But, without delay, governments have implemented
many other structural measures which significantly offset the
market degradation. And this effort will continue in 2010 with a historic increase
This is one of the strongest in terms of aid to the press, which has risen to almost 420 million euros.
progress on all missions in my department’s budget.
Concretely, the normal end of the moratorium resulted in the application in 2010 of the tariffs initially
planned for 2009. Should the rates planned for 2008 be maintained in 2010? I have not yet
final answer to this question, but governments are working on it, keeping in mind
the need to maintain the overall balance of the MOU.
Beyond tariff and budgetary issues, what is at stake is indeed credibility
agreements signed in 2008 by the State, the publishers and the Post Office, as well as the
actions carried out since the end of the States General of the written press.
I note, and this is an important point, that the commitments made by the Post concerning its
service offerings are already widely implemented. The counterpart of this better
service offer was a measured rate increase for publishers, and support for
the State guaranteed throughout the duration of the agreements.
For the future, if the initial moratorium were to be completed by a second phase in 2010 in the
conditions you want, the context in which it would be implemented would be
radically different from the one in which it was adopted. The question of
viability of the agreements originally concluded.
You also wanted to develop other forms of routing. I emphasize to this
whereas the budget for portage assistance has increased from 8.25 million to 70 million
and that the scope of the allocation has been extended to all political and
But next to the moratorium of the increase of the postal rates and the portage the MÉCÉNAT has come
take new forms, more adapted to the needs of publishers.
I know, dear François D'ORCIVAL, what role you played as president of the association
«PRESS AND PLURALISM», at the close of the Estates General, to bring about a
news of media sponsorship.
“PRESS AND PLURALISM” can now grant grants or subsidized loans
Media companies, which will be eligible for sponsorship of individuals and
companies. The possibilities offered by this renewed patronage mechanism will be
soon to be extended to online press companies.
This change in sponsorship rules is one of the key measures that will be taken to
make it possible for you to negotiate, under the best conditions, the technological change that
is imposed upon you; but it is obviously not the only one.
The third major component is precisely that of press development aid.
DIGITAL. The desire to substantially support press companies in their
efforts to cope with the current transfers, The Amending Finance Law for 2009 has
increased by almost EUR 20 million in the budget of the European Union’s
online press services.
This increase in resources, as well as the definition, by the famous law Creation and
Internet», known as HADOPI, a definition of the online press service, will make it possible to
Reform the conditions for the allocation and operation of development aid
services. This open definition provides for the application of this device to
press only online, that is to say that does not publish a paper version. But none
unequal treatment will however settle between these publishers and traditional press in
line. Therefore both will be subject to a specific approval by the
Joint Commission on Publications and Press Agencies (CPPAP), whose operation
will on that occasion be amended by order.
On the other hand, in order to stimulate the development of these online press services, the aid
now take the form of grants, and not just advances as was the case
Finally, the action of the State goes through a SUPPORT OF THE SALE AT NUMBER. In the framework of the
reflections on improving the distribution of press titles, you share the idea, dear
François D'ORCIVAL, and to better meet the needs expressed by both broadcasters
that publishers must achieve a better visibility of publications in
The “assortment” system is expected to be operational this fall.
The modernisation of sales outlets, essential to a press that wants to be more and more
close to its readership, will reinforce this device. 8 million euros will be devoted to
EUR 5 million for the modernisation of sales areas.
As you have understood, the public authorities have not remained indifferent, far from it, to the
legitimate anxieties about the current media crisis. The effort is without
in the history of the French press. These are both emergency measures and
actions that aim to strengthen the very structures of the press. But they will
fully effective only if all actors continue to mobilize. Their reach is before
all incentives: they aim to help the press to overcome the ordeal, to realize the
investment and give it the means to better meet the expectations of
I already had the opportunity to say so at the time of the Assizes of Journalism held
recently in Strasbourg, the exceptional aid granted by the State at the end of the States
The aim of the press is to facilitate a recasting. It is an opportunity which the
publishers must seize. But this is a first step. The press needed to
industrial responses to industrial problems (printing, distribution, equity, etc.).
We’re resolving them. We can’t stop there. We have to move on.
the next stage, that of the quality of the information, that of the trades and the values of
Whatever resources are made available, State aid will never be sufficient if it
is not accompanied by a questioning of the information model itself and not
only of the economic model of which he is also the expression. For without making Marx easy, he
is obvious that the two are linked and that it would be absurd to want to keep a press that does not
would not find the forms that correspond to this new landscape, that is
would not involve a redefinition of the editorial offer, the practices, and the
journalism in the digital age.
The State is more than ever at your side. But your future is first in your hands.
I have no concern about your ability to mobilize energies, dear François D'ORCIVAL,
you who have led the SPPMO’s destiny for more than 10 years within the Federation
of the French press (FNPF).
The diversity of your members would, as I said, be surprising, but you have the art of
reconcile what may seem irreconcilable, and those you represent agree on
essential, that is, the need for a dynamic press for the health and plurality of
Thank you for your attention.