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The Twitter reaction to France’s ban on discussing predicted presidential results

April 23rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Politics, Social media and blogging

By Guillaume Paumier on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

“The results were like the elephant in the room” – that’s what one journalist told Journalism.co.uk after users were said to have taken to Twitter to try and get around a ban on the discussion of predicted results in the French presidential election.

The law, which dates from 1977, bans the reporting of results, projections and exit polls on the day before and day of the election until the closure of the last polling stations.

The ban will also apply to the run-off between Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande on Sunday 6 May and is expected to remain in place, after Jean-Francois Pillon, the head of France’s polling commission, reportedly said he would call on state prosecutors to bring charges against media organisations and individuals who had allegedly defied the ban.

The last polling stations closed at 8pm on Sunday, but before this deadline the hashtag #radiolondres, a reference to resistance broadcasts made in the Second World War, was being used to discuss the projected results, with the candidates being given code-names to try and circumvent the ban.

Nicola Hebden, a freelance journalist covering the election, told Journalism.co.uk the events highlighted the issue of attempting to ban information spreading on Twitter:

While we were broadcasting, the results were like the elephant in the room – we all knew them – the news team, the viewers – but we weren’t allowed to talk about them on air.

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Le Monde sues office of President Sarkozy for spying

The row over an alleged attack on press freedom by French president Nicolas Sarkozy continues this week after it was confirmed by police that a senior official has been implicated as part of an investigation into leaked information.

According to a BBC News report, French newspaper Le Monde is to file a lawsuit accusing the office of President Sarkozy of spying on its journalists, claiming it understands an intelligence service was used to identify one its sources in relation to a story ran in July.

The report in question by Le Monde linked a minister to an investigation by authorities into L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and donations to Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign. The president’s office reportedly rejects the claims made by the paper.

Following the news of legal action, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders pledged its support to Le Monde.

If the Elysée Palace really ordered government personnel to violate the law on the secrecy of sources in the Woerth-Bettencourt case, it would constitute a violation of press freedom as serious as tapping journalists’ telephones.

We offer Le Monde all our support in its determination to establish whether the government violated the confidentiality of sources. These allegations must be treated with the utmost seriousness. Reinforcing the protection of journalists’ sources was one of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign promises and a law was even voted in January. It would be intolerable if the Elysée Palace were the first to break a law requested by the president.

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FT.com: ‘There will be a transition to people paying for the internet,’ says Liberty Media chairman

A couple of things extremely pertinent to the paid content debate in a ‘view from the top’ interview on FT.com.

It’s with Liberty Media chairman, John Malone, described by the FT’s Richard Milne as ‘one of the most powerful figures in the media world’. He controls a ‘sprawling empire of assets’ including  DirecTV, the Discovery Channel, QVC, the Atlanta Braves baseball team and a company focused on Cable TV, Liberty Global.

Two extracts from the interview:

“How bad is the outlook for the media industry right now?”

“The media has lots of different elements in it. Probably at the bottom would be local, because local advertising has been the most adversely affected. Newsprint is probably the most damaged media going forward. Cable television has been OK. It continues to grow, a little slower than we’d like. The broadcast networks are getting beaten up, but not as bad on their national side as on their local side (…)”

and:

A big debate in media is: can you get consumers to pay for online content?

“There will be a transition to people paying for [the] internet. Unfortunately, a lot of the people promoting the internet have other monetisation theories, such as search, which is ‘free’ to the consumer. Believe me, it’s not free to the retailer. The real question is: can you get people to pay for content on the internet? That will happen over time. If you’re a newspaper publisher and you’re giving information free on the internet and charging a subscription fee [for the paper], I don’t understand the logic.”

Full interview at this link…

And this:

“Long or short? Newspapers? Short James Murdoch? Long Hedge fund regulation? Long Share prices? Neutral The European economy? Short Nicolas Sarkozy? Long Ben Bernanke? Long Barack Obama’s healthcare plan? Disaster – short Twitter? Neutral Barry Diller? Long.”

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MediaGuardian: Sarkozy starts talks to rescue France’s ailing newspapers

October 2nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is launching crisis talks today with the aim of saving France’s ailing newspaper industry.

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