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Journalist Fellows' Papers

The Presidential Influence on the French Media under Nicolas Sarkozy

Reuters Institute Fellow's Paper

Emma Jane Kirby, a BBC-sponsored journalist fellow and former BBC Paris correspondent, has written a highly readable account of French President Sarkozy's complex relationship with the media.

In her study, The Presidential Influence on the French Media under Nicolas Sarkozy, she aims to explain the paradoxical nature of Sarkozy's media management style which is 'at once controlling and dynastic' and at the same time 'apparently liberal'. Kirby analyses his close relationship with businessmen who own the French media but shows how his efforts to exert direct influence over the media have only been partly successful.  She points to where the President’s media strategies have gone wrong – opening the door to allow the media to scrutinize his private life (and then being unable to shut it), saturating the media stage so that the Head of State became almost a character in his own badly-edited soap opera, and forcing through didactic measures.  She concludes that despite the increase in newspaper articles extremely critical of the President, 'the French press as a whole remains somewhat reverential compared to the British press.

As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.

Image: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer