Accurate transcription of pronouncement

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Good evening,

I could get into the story of all my first times on Rue de Valois… In this department that has its habits, and where you have yours, I have decided not to comply with the codes— Some of you wrote it down.

Today, however, I am following this tradition, this ceremony of good wishes, because it is important to wish ourselves a happy new year, especially when we have a fight to fight. These first months of contact with you have convinced me. We share it. And many of you are already assuming it.

Together, we will be so much stronger. That is why I agreed to take on these responsibilities. To leave everything behind. Paul AUSTER pointed this out to me last week…

Yes. I said yes for France. For those who live there. Because it deserves a fight, our fight. The fight against, what I call: Cultural segregation.

What segregation are we talking about?

The one that holds citizens, too many citizens, so many citizens at a distance from places, works, events frequented by others. Economic, social, and geographic barriers have not given way. Despite what this department has done. In spite of decentralization, networking, tariff policies. In spite of what so much you accomplish. The cultural divide of France is there: between those who have access to everything, and those who are excluded from many. France who mourned Jean d'ORMESSON mourned Johnny. The one who mourned Johnny did not always know Jean d'ORMESSON.

What does that tell us? Johnny’s a bigger star? A popular star?

No. We deduce that an Academician, a writer, however great, is not heard. This observation makes us uncomfortable. Why? Because it gives the impression that we prioritize culture. That we make a typology:

  • Popular culture, elitist culture…
  • Culture for everyone, culture for everyone…
  • State culture, the culture of intermittence…
  • Public culture, private culture…

“Art for art”, art to please, art for the Other…

That is what we have been doing for too long.

Let’s get over this discomfort, let’s get over this debate. The French don’t have to choose. The cultural sector doesn’t have to choose. The department doesn’t have to choose. Standing up for culture is standing up for all culture, in its diversity. I’m here for that. To make it accessible. And to allow everyone to play their part: not just be a spectator, but an actor.

You are the artisans of this cultural diversity, a bulwark of segregation. It requires a strong public service. Through the institutions you represent: I am here to defend you. Cultural diversity lives on thanks to the private structures, the associations, the alternative projects that you carry... I am here to accompany you. Cultural diversity is fuelled by amateur practices that continue to grow – this is the ‘big’ underlying trend of the past 40 years. The public authorities have not taken it into account enough. We will.

I want to loosen the clutch. Get out of the boxes. I consider that to free France from its divisions, we must free ourselves from ours. In order to face cultural segregation, I want to move forward without constraints, without complex, without taboos.

Without taboos, we will move to the school. Without being invited, because we are legitimate. Today, no one would question the place of sport in school. You will tell me that the same thing has been promised for culture for forty or fifty years.

There were the visionaries: LANG-TASCA. There were the pioneers: in Lille, in Paris… Mayors who made it a priority, a reality. This political will – that of Bertrand DELANOE, Martine AUBRY – changed the school. Changed lives. 

I carry this political will for all of France. This ministry is working with the National Education as never before.   I’m not saying that.

It is our culture teams in this department that have not seen the front move for decades.

Today they believe in it. Today they do. Today they win A choir in every school and in every college: it’s a start. That’s not good enough.

We will continue tomorrow with the theatre, the day after tomorrow with the visual arts, instrumental practice, dance.

What we are doing, which has never been done, is creating an obligation of partnership for schools, with cultural actors in the territory: so that professionals and artists provide the teaching. Let’s commit.

Everyone in the cultural world must be there. In four years, the practice of an art will no longer be the privilege of a few. So that this generation of children will no longer feel illegitimate in the face of creation. So that everyone becomes an adult who will say, in front of a work, a cultural institution: «I am at home».

Without taboos, then, we will help libraries to be reborn. To occupy their rightful place in the City, in civic life. The division of powers is not the subject. It is the desire to do that counts: that of librarians, to whom I pay tribute; those of cities, departments; my desire to do, our desire to do.

I ordered a report from Erik ORSENNA, who drew up a formidable inventory.

We both have the complicity of books and places of reading. Libraries are islands where cultural segregation is not allowed. Places without cleavage: where classical poetry meets comics. Where anyone can enter. Where most citizens go without complexes. Libraries are places for everyone.

It is the first cultural network of proximity. But many French people have lost the reflex to stop there. Because they’re not open when they get out of work, or on weekends, when they have time. Because they’re not open on Sundays, when our high school students, our students are looking for a place to work. We will help the 16,000 libraries in France to adapt their schedules. To open more. To open better.

To become “cultural public service houses”. That sounds like a promise.

At the end of February, I will present the main points of its implementation.

Without taboo, I engaged the ministry in a new adventure: the Pass culture.

As you know, this is a presidential promise. A clear will. A project to invent. I decided to do this with the first concerned – the young – and with future supply partners – both public and private. We put everyone around the table. There was a lot said about this Pass Culture. He asked.

Because I did not choose a conventional method: I chose to advance with a state startup. What I can tell you now is that the Pass will not be a simple cheque: we are building a new universal public service, and the first cultural social network. The Pass will take the form of a geo-localized mobile app, which will allow us to know and access all the cultural offerings available to us – the exhibition that has just begun in the museum next door, the dedication in the bookstore across the street, the concert near home…

Questions remain: on the age of the beneficiaries, on the scope of the offer available. We need you to answer them. I will be setting up a policy committee in February that will meet every month to help us move forward with these reflections.

The application will be launched in September. Until then, it will be tested in several territories, metropolitan and ultramarine. This Pass Culture is a chance. The chance to conquer new audiences. This is the beginning of a revolution: for this ministry and the cultural sector, who have never worked together in this way. And for all the new generations, who will discover the culture differently. I will tell you about the exchange I attended, with a group of about fifteen high school students, during a first workshop on the Pass culture. We ask them:

"Would you go to the museum with this app?"

- “No,” they respond spontaneously.

- “Why?”

- “Because it’s always the same”, I always quote them.

"What if we offer you a guided tour, with someone telling you the story of the works, and grouped with friends?"

"So yes. That’s different."

Far from taboos, again, I want to bet on travelling. Masterpieces were not created for museums alone. Shows can be played off the big stages.

You don’t distort art by taking it out of the living rooms, from the sets to the trestles. I have in mind this summer image: open-air cinema is always a great popular festival... Louis MALLE on the lawns of La Villette, Mustang of Deniz ERGUVEN on the squares of Lyon… Art does not intimidate when it is outside the walls. When we pass. When it comes to us.

Art will be a chance for all, if we circulate it even more. On February 9, I will launch a major homeless support plan. To accompany the companies, the operas, the plays that go on the roads of France. They are too little visible, too little supported, too few. We are going to help them grow, to spread.

It is a movement that should not be carried only by a few activists, a few associations. I would like all the institutions in the department to take part. I know that thanks to you, the major national collections are already visible in many regional museums. But we have to go further. It is necessary to go beyond the walls of the institutions. Why not imagine to invest the station halls, the multipurpose rooms, the public places? We are not going to move the Louvre. But why would we not move the Mona Lisa… or the Bayeux tapestry?

I know the costs, the insurance, the temporary shortfalls.... But let’s ask these questions. And for all works that cannot be moved, for reasons of cost or fragility, let us rely on digital, on virtual reality. Again, there are a number of you who are already doing that. All means are good to combat segregation. Without taboo, always, I will be working on major transformations.

In the media sector. Transformations necessary for the smooth running of our democratic life. At the invitation of Pierre HASKI, I went yesterday to attend the screening of Steven SPIELBERG’s latest film: Pentagone Papers. A hymn to the freedom of the press. Everyone: journalists, politicians, we were reminded of our duties. Your duty to inform. Our duty to guarantee freedom of the press. Your duty to cross-check sources. Our duty is to ensure the reliability of information, to combat “fake news” with our legislative tools.

I will defend in the coming weeks a law on reliability and confidence in information, which was announced by the President of the Republic.

In the audiovisual field, this law would strengthen the CSA’s powers over television channels controlled by foreign states.

For digital platforms and social networks, it would make it possible to establish a duty of cooperation to combat fake news. Failure to cooperate would be penalised.

We are thinking about platform obligations to better warn users of sponsored content during election periods.

I am in the process of consulting stakeholders on these various issues.

To combat fake news, we cannot be content with a legislative apparatus. We have to put the media education package. And now, more than ever, I’m looking to you. You’re the one who knows how. We have to fund it.

I will present a plan to engage civic services on this issue. Press Week at School is a start. This press education, we must hold it all year round, from primary school.

When it comes to the media, it is also the transformation of the audiovisual sector – both public and private – that is a priority for this department. You will not have missed this. We are in a state of emergency. The emergence of new players – the GAFA – and new usages, above all, requires a rapid adaptation of our regulatory system. Today, competition is completely unfair. Platforms escape our rules, our tax system, our ecosystem. This is what I advocated in Brussels for the reform of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, known as the SMA.

I won a majority in the Council last May.

The SMA directive is now under negotiation between the Member States and the European Parliament. Its transposition in France will be the starting point for an overhaul of audiovisual regulation introduced by the 1986 law.

In this changing landscape, public broadcasting must make its transformation. It is the most accessible and popular cultural public service.

It is in every home. It is also the department’s largest budget. These are two realities that require us. It is your duty to set an example: reliability of information, programming, representativeness of society, management of public funds. Has an increased effort of innovation, to win back the young audience. Has an increased effort of cooperation, to accelerate the digital investment, which represents 1 to 2% of the budget of the companies of the public audiovisual, against 7% in some European neighbors. 

For the public broadcaster to continue to make a difference, I want a very ambitious, very bold transformation. We owe it to our fellow citizens. I am working with the leaders of the companies involved. I am bringing them together again next week. You know our projects: the massive support for creation; the provision of local programs; the influence of the French language and creation.

This year, we are deciding the future of the sector.

Finally, without taboos, I want to be able to question the budgetary balances of the department. Question the balance between Paris and the rest of France. Questioning the balance between heritage and creation. Questioning automatisms, in budgetary matters.

The bulk of our means for creation, for example, is now pointed at the places labelled with the ministry. It leaves very little room for emerging supply. To question the economic models of our large public institutions, also, the possibility of a diversification of means, the even greater place that can take the patronage. All funding opportunities need to be explored. The foundations, which several of you in the room represent, play an essential role.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Fighting cultural segregation: This is the mission I am giving myself, over this five-year period.

The one that will guide all my projects. The one that will guide yours, I hope. We share that responsibility. It obliges us to a very great boldness, to a very great freedom: of initiative, of spirit, of action.  

Finally, I want to call on you to mobilize, without taboo, without reserve, to help France meet a particular challenge: the welcome of those who are in exile. The cultural world has a duty to act.

Many of you are already doing so. Let us continue. Let us offer migrants a welcome worthy of our country.

I call on everyone to take their part, at their level, to offer them access to the French language, to the practice of an art, to the benchmarks that culture provides. To give them dignity, after the journeys they have made. To offer them the chance of rooting.

To make concrete progress, I have just entrusted to Benjamin STORA a mission of coordination of the action carried out by the operators of the Ministry of Culture on behalf of migrants.

Dear friends,

May 2018 bring to each of you the health, determination and courage necessary for the conduct of all these struggles and projects.

I’m gonna need you.

I wish you all the best in the new year.

Thank you for your commitment.