… is the name of the hyper active French president, very much disliked by the French film people I know, for his law proposal, his ”réforme de l’audiovisuel” that (according to le Monde 18.12) now has passed through the Parliament to be further discussed at the Senate from January 7. The opposition was very much against the proposal, some even comparing his move to how Berlusconi and Putin control the media.
The idea of Sarkozy is 1) to make France Télévisions into one enterprise with for example one overall documentary unit for the involved France 2, 3, 4, 5, to 2) have the President (c’est moi!) appoint the Presidents of the channels, to 3) take away commercials from the channels from 8pm to 6am with a total disappearance of commercials from 2011. The financial compensation is to be made up by a tax on commercials from the commercial channels and electronic operators plus a guarantee from the state that runs until 2011. The executive council of France Télévisions has already decided to follow the president’s commercial proposal.
What all this means for the creative (and critical) documentary in a country that has always been at the foreground when it comes to the financial support for the arts – I will ask some French documentarians for their comments. Will a lot of people be fired? How will the decision making be if there will only be one unit for documentaries? Centralisation? Will the foreseen raise in budget/income for the commercial channels mean a fall in financing for documentaries on the public channels? And so on, so forth… Voilà!