Dear Michel Magras, President of the Overseas Delegation,
President of the Commission de la Culture, de l'Education et de la Communication, dear Catherine Morin-Desailly,
Rapporteurs, dear Jocelyne Guidez, dear Maurice Antiste,
Ladies and gentlemen senators,
Whether fiction or information, images have a considerable impact on our imaginations.
We tend to project ourselves there.
There is a tendency, for example, to appreciate more films and series in which one identifies with a character…
But for some, it is difficult to identify with an image, a situation, a character.
Because too often the screens only show a part of our society.
Too often they hide its diversity.
By failing to represent them, we give the feeling to certain territories, to certain French, to be invisible; to be abandoned.
We have allowed this feeling to flourish for too long.
This cannot go on.
This unsatisfactory representation on the screen, the overseas are the first to suffer.
Their diversity, their youth, the richness of their languages and heritage, their abundant cultural life, their vibrant Francophonie…
We don’t show them enough.
We don’t give them enough visibility.
It is not normal not to have ultramarine actors or characters in French series.
It is not normal for television news to mention Mayotte, New Caledonia or Reunion Island only when these territories are in trouble.
For the public broadcaster to speak to all, the public broadcaster must speak of all.
And that he talks about everyone on channels that are watched by everyone.
The existence of a dedicated channel in France was not an answer to the challenge:
France Ô served as an alibi for the absence of programs dedicated to the French Overseas Territories and their inhabitants on the other channels of France Télévisions.
It has confined «the archipelago of France» to the periphery, instead of placing it at the center of the programs that the French watch.
Things have to change.
And things will change.
Transforming public broadcasting will help us do that.
It must allow public broadcasters to show France as it is.
It must allow it to give a faithful image to our country; to reflect its vitality.
Our objective is to place the French overseas departments at the centre, and no longer at the periphery of the public audiovisual sector.
It is to speak of the French Overseas as we speak of France.
This means, for example, including on the France 2 JT topics about the upcoming launch of the Culture Pass experiment in French Guiana; or about the cultural news of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
It makes them more visible on television, but also in the digital world. A dedicated portal will be developed, with many more programs on the Overseas, and better access to the Overseas 1era and their contents.
By 2020, when France Ô stops broadcasting, all French people will see, on the screens of the public service, programs produced in the French overseas territories, which speak of the French overseas territories, with ultramarine.
To achieve this, commitments have been made:
- By the President of the Republic – at the Overseas Assizes in June.
- By the entire government – through French Minister of Overseas Affairs Annick Girardin and my predecessor Françoise Nyssen, on 19 July, during the restitution of the consultation mission.
- By France Télévisions – and I thank its president Delphine Ernotte.
In order to get visible results on the air as soon as possible, so that things really change, we needed to work with the people concerned.
We needed to hear from the overseas.
We needed your voice.
That is the whole meaning of the working group that you wanted to set up and to which the Ministries of Culture and Overseas cooperate fully.
It brings together a number of you, whom I greet.
This working group is representative of all territories, all sensitivities, all parties, and both houses of Parliament – the Senate and the National Assembly.
I’m glad you did.
Because if we want diversity on the screen, we have to have diversity in our ranks.
You have worked – and will continue to work – with France Télévisions, to concretely measure the progress needed; to establish with them quantitative and qualitative indicators – which will be included in the specifications of France Télévisions.
These indicators will enable us to monitor the improvement in the representation of the overseas territories in the public audiovisual sector.
The idea is not to reinvent the programming of the channels, the sequence of the news, or to recruit new hosts.
It is to think collectively about ways to improve the visibility of the ultramarine territories and their inhabitants across the country.
To that end, the working group has met almost every Thursday since November. It has heard:
- France Télévisions,
- the Superior Council of Audiovisual,
- the Syndicat de la production audiovisuelle et cinématographique des Outre-mer (SPACOM),
- and the Collectif Sauvons France Ô.
Today and Monday, he will hear again the representatives of France Télévisions, first Delphine Ernotte, so that the company can present its proposals and concrete achievements.
The INA, France Médias Monde and Radio France will also soon be heard.
So the work is ongoing.
Based on these numerous consultations, this working group will issue a report in the coming weeks, which will contain operational proposals.
I also know that your Senate delegation to the French Overseas Territories decided in October to conduct a study on the representation and visibility of the French Overseas Territories in the national public broadcasting system.
I would like to greet the two rapporteurs – Maurice Antiste and Jocelyne Guidez.
In particular, you launched an online consultation on the subject.
I am convinced that this work, which complements the other work carried out, will shed light on this debate in a peaceful manner and will make it possible to deal with this subject with the rigour it deserves.
Before I give you the floor and answer your questions, I would also like to remind you that there will always be staff and resources committed by France Télévisions at the central level for ultramarine services.
The question of the future of the staff of France Ô will be treated with seriousness and responsibility.
In addition, 10 million euros are currently allocated by France Télévisions to ultramarine co-productions. This budget envelope will be maintained.
Ladies and gentlemen senators,
We have all the cards in hand to better represent the French overseas.
We have the means to talk about it as we talk about France.
That is what we are going to do.
On this subject, I will not cease to work in close collaboration with the Minister of Overseas Affairs, Annick Girardin; to cooperate with the Parliament and all the territorial authorities ultramarine.
You can count on my determination.