Dear Minister, Dear Fadela Amara,Dear President of France Télévisions, Dear Patrick de Carolis, Dear Chairman of the Standing Committee on Diversity of the Groupe France Télévisions, Dear Hervé Bourges, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

When I think of the essential role that television and the media play in representing the reality of our societies, I remember the thought of George BERKELEY, the 18th century Irish philosopher and bishop, and his theory of “absolute idealism” that “to be is to be perceived”, “esse est percipi”. To exist, you have to be seen, “seen on TV” in a way… In short, we have gone from “absolute idealism” to a sort of “media idealism”, not to say “Catholic idealism”…
More seriously, today, to exist, to be itself, to build our living together, to move forward serenely, our society and those who compose it must be able to recognize themselves in what they see on the television screens and who, No matter how critical a look we may sometimes have on her, our lives are structured almost as much as she represents them. This requirement to make television more faithful to reality, more authentically close to the concerns and expectations of each one responds to a real social and societal demand. Proof of this is the success of all the fictions and programs that are under the sign of diversity. These are programs that bring people together, that unite: I am thinking of course of Aïcha by Yamina Benguigui, or Plus belle la vie… They are also the most award-winning productions, such as «Clandestins» at the International Festival of Individual Programs (FIPA), or «Faire danser la poussière» at the Luchon Festival. Because we must believe and hope that television contributes to the formation of what was once called “the honest man”, let us remember Montaigne’s wise words: “an honest man is a mixed man”., a man whose culture was nourished by plural identities.
That is why I want to begin by paying tribute to the remarkable work done by President Hervé Bourges and the members of the committee, who, in less than a year, managed to deliver a report to us without complacency and, in particular, nourished by what I have just heard, extremely promising and, I would even say courageous suggestions.
I expected no less from Hervé Bourges, who was the creator of the Ramadan Nights, and who took it to heart when he presided over the chains of the public group, to begin to recognize them a major responsibility, which they had hardly assumed untilthe diversity of the components of our culture and society.
This effort has been continued since then and particularly accentuated by Patrick de CAROLIS and his teams, under the watchful eye of the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel, which guarantees the expression of diversity in the media.
But, dear Patrick, when you set up this Standing Committee on Diversity, you understood that television must be the catalyst for a change in our mentality, a constant spur both on the editorial level and on the conduct of this company, France-télévisions. The public channels must be exemplary in their recruitment and promotion policies, so that diversity is not only a screen effect, but the result of a competition of all living forces, intellectual, moral, artistic and technical, which help to feed public television day after day.
Know that I will always be with France Télévisions and its leaders to support them in this requirement.
The report you are presenting today coincides with two other reports that will soon be made public:
that which the Superior Council of Audiovisual submits annually to the Parliament;
the one that will be presented shortly by the Commission «Médias et Diversités», chaired by Bernard SPITZ and created at the request of Yazid SABEG, Commissioner for Diversity and Equal Opportunities.
Each of these initiatives is part of a specific initiative: today you are going to propose a series of measures specific to France Télévisions.
The CFS provides a more general picture of diversity in all audiovisual media, particularly television. It is thanks to him – and the barometer he set up – that we have a photograph of diversity in television, that we know the place reserved for women, for the different socio-professional categories, for the “variety of ethnic origins” and persons with disabilities.
Finally, the Media and Diversity Commission will formulate a series of proposals aimed at improving this representation from a broader perspective, which covers all media and seeks to examine the representation of diversity not only in content, but also in training and careers.
All of these reports will be available this month. They reflect a common concern and address the evidence of a gap.
We know that it was civil society that, in the late 1990s, made this lack of representation in the French media possible. And you know this better than anyone, dear Hervé, you who initiated the first study on this subject, when you chaired the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel.
We also know that ten years later the situation is not satisfactory. It “does not qualify”, as Michel BOYON used to say, when he handed in the third APF study on diversity in television programming. According to the latest assessment by the AVERROES Club, the representation of diversity in the French media is stagnating or even declining.
The situation is unanimous, and no one can admit it.
The fact that Alexandre DUMAS is played by a white actor obviously poses no problem, but on the condition that black actors have their place in French cinema; on the condition that one does not give the impression of omitting the skin colour of one of the greatest French writers.
Once we know all the proposals that will be submitted this month, I will review with my colleagues in the Government the measures we will take.
Finally, with particular reference to the work of my Ministry alongside yours, dear Fadela, I hope that on the next occasion of the renewal of the fund «Images de la diversité», endowed with nearly 9 million euros, we can together give a new impetus to this mechanism which has already proved its effectiveness and whose results will be increasingly visible, that is to say, in real terms.
Thank you.