Satellite-based TV network France 24 (pronounced “Fronce Van-Cat”) debuted last night with a party on the Champs Elysees. The International Herald Tribune’s Doreen Carvajal was less than impressed with the softballs tossed to Jacques Chirac by France 24 President Alain de Pouzihlac in the network’s premiere interview.
The brief saluatory interview was not conducted by one of the international channel’s newly hired reporters lured away from the BBC, CNN and RFI. But rather it was Alain de Pouzilhac, the president of France 24, whose entire career has been in advertising. Previously, he was the chief executive of Havas, where he was deposed in a boardroom coup in the summer of 2005, before moving on to head up the new chain. He said quite openly to me that he is not a journalist.
Call that a fresh approach.
A more in-depth piece from the Tribune and coverage from BusinessWeek both point out that the publicly funded network is a consciously political move on the part of the French government concerned about the anglophone influence of BBC and CNN on the world stage. While a number of current top video segments are available online via Windows Media Player, I’ve still got my homepage set to the Pentagon’s recommendation, Al Jazeera English.