French weekly JDD extends strike over appointment of far-right editor

French Sunday newspaper staff Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) voted Wednesday to extend the strike action. The publication has been in turmoil since the surprise appointment last week of far-right Geoffroy Lejeune as its new editor-in-chief.

Issuance of:

The appointment of Geoffroy Lejeune as the new editor-in-chief of an influential weekly led to mass layoffs of staff, paralyzing the organization. paper and its website.

The SDJ union said in a press release that 97% of its staff voted to continue the strike action at least until a new vote is held on Thursday.

Economy, not ideology

Lejeune, 34, until recently was the editor of a far-right weekly Valur Actuelcontributed to its rise in prominence through provocative headlines and cutting-edge attacks on the country’s politicians and intellectuals.

Driven by his close ties with several far-right senior politicians, Lejeune “expresses views that run counter to the values ​​held by the JDD for the past 75 years,” the union wrote.

French journalist Geoffroy Lejeune poses during a photo shoot in Paris on September 28, 2020. © Joel Saget/AFP

of JDDIt is the only national Sunday newspaper in France, part of the Lagadere media empire, with a circulation of around 140,000 and an online edition.

Mr. Arnaud Lagadere, owner Lagardère Groupwas recently acquired by conservative billionaire Vincent Bolloré, who said he supported the decision to hire Lejeune.

“I didn’t choose Geoffroy for the purpose of changing editorial policy, but of course, JDD We also have to know how to adapt to a changing world, as we have always done,” Lagadere told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday.

“This decision was made by me alone. Not Vincent Bolloré, not anyone at Vivendi. [mass media holding company owned by Bolloré]was involved,” he argued, adding that this was “an economic choice, not an ideological choice at all.”

Republican values ​​under threat

The NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) special event on Tuesday night, Theater Ribble The rally in central Paris was attended by hundreds of prominent figures from the media and left-wing politicians.

“Mr. Bolloré is a businessman who bullies media workers and has the potential to destabilize the industry,” RSF said.

A petition for Lejeune’s appointment, signed by more than 600 people, Le Monde on tuesday.

“Legally speaking, JDD As long as you follow the law, you can do whatever you want,” said France’s culture minister. Abdul Malak wrote on Twitter: on sunday. “But given our republican values, how can we not worry?”

Eight former editors of the newspaper said Lejeune’s nomination was “a provocation and a demonstration of the far-right’s unabashed establishment in the media.”

French Fox News

A conservative Catholic from northwestern France, Bolloré has gradually expanded his empire to include TV channels and magazines. paris matchRadio Station Europe 1, and more recently JDD.

After acquiring the news channel Aiterehe sparked a 31-day strike in 2016 that gutted most of his staff and turned him into CNews, a conservative platform dubbed by critics as the “Fox News of France.”

RSF Executive Director Christophe DesLoire also wrote on Twitter: “Mr Bolloré is an ax expert on acquired media.”

RSF is report his constant attacks on press freedom In 2021.

JDDFormer socialist president François Hollande, quoted by the AFP news agency, said there was no future in its present form because “Vincent Bollore wants to create an ideological press that serves the far right”.

anti-semitic, racist headlines

Immigration, crime, alleged left-wing media bias, “enlightened” teachers, “anti-white” minorities, and the spread of Islamism were all covered. Valur Actuel under Lejeune.

“Save the 50-year-old straight white man,” read one of his last front-page headlines in May.

In 2019, the publication was criticized by some 400 scholars in a joint letter following a vicious and highly personal slander against Benjamin Sutra, a prominent Jewish historian of French colonial history. anti-semite.

The magazine also repeatedly targeted Jewish investor George Soros, calling him a “billionaire plotting against France” in a 2018 front-page headline.

In 2021, the publication was found guilty of racist hate speech after publishing a fictional story and caricature depicting one of the country’s most prominent black legislators as a naked slave with chains and an iron collar. sentenced.

Lejeune also backs far-right media commentator Eric Zemua During last year’s presidential campaign.

He is a close friend of Marion Maréchal, the niece of the far-right founder Jean-Marie Le Pen.

(AFP communication) French weekly JDD extends strike over appointment of far-right editor

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