As a French alternative to CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and the guns of Pricksdom, Chirac launches France 24, international news tonight, saying it will highlight diverse cultures, challenge Anglo-Saxon conventionality, focus on culture avec les yeux Francais, emphasize the arts, philosophical and political debates, and present a uniquely French view of all things international, with most of its broadcasts in English, some in French, Arabic in 2007, and Spanish in 2009. Although it will seek to present a French world view, it will do so without relying on la langue Francais, which is the most un-French idea imaginable. If language determines thought, la vie quotidienne ne peut pas exister dans l'anglais. Where would we be without l'hyperbole and la poésie? Is it hype or la vie en rose?
Chirac hopes that by broadcasting in English, he will better be able to take a stand on things like the war, freedom toast, and perhaps haute couture.
"...when Mr Chirac tried to slow the US drive to war in Iraq and some media in the US and Britain mocked his efforts, the need for a news channel with a French voice gained currency. Mr Chirac now wants to launch it as part of the president's legacy of projects that continue France's struggle against the global dominance of the US."Apparently the producers are confident that the station will remain independent,
"...although the ageing president will launch France 24 at glittering gala in Paris's Tuileries Gardens, the station's chief executive, Alain de Pouzilhac, is determined not to let it become "Chirac TV". "We have public money but we are an independent channel," he told the Guardian. Nor will it be a vehicle for the centre-right presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been accused of being too close to TV stations. "I know Nicolas very well. I don't believe we will have a problem with that. He hasn't called me," Mr Pouzilhac added."I'm surprised to learn that France didn't already have its own 24 hour international news station (l'actualité internationale), but on the other hand everything in France is closed between 11am and 3pm. You can't get breakfast 24 hours a day, or dinner early. The entire concept of timing and scheduling revolves around a set routine of civilized breaks and rules about eating a tarte tatin (tip: keep your hands above the table or you will be thrown in the cave de la guerre). Instant gratification and 24/7 truques are simply not a part of the French lifestyle.
"...at its headquarters, where a banner outside proclaims: "Everything you are not supposed to know", journalists say the station will influence world politics. Mark Owen, formerly of Granada TV, who will present the English morning news bulletins and debate show, said: "Take the conflict in Lebanon this summer. If Jacques Chirac's call for a ceasefire - which didn't even make BBC or CNN - had been reported earlier, it could have brought about an earlier resolution of the conflict."Good point. Bonne chance France 24. I hope you will set the standards of haut news, and revolutionary journalism.
[The Guardian Unlimited]