Taking a good hard look at AFP

The European Union’s competition watchdog thinks France might be spending waaaay too much on its newswire, Agence France-Presse.

The Associated Press is (rather gleefully) reporting that the European Commission is launching an investigation into whether AFP’s $161 million in annual state funding (which accounts for 40 per cent of AFP’s revenue) is in line with the law. AFP CEO Emmanuel Hoog is worried:

“If the payments are deemed illegal, the European Commission ‘could order the immediate end to public financing … and force AFP to repay the state ‘for subsidies dating back 10 years,’ Hoog wrote to union leaders Monday. ‘This would obviously be the darkest scenario for us.'”

In proper French fashion, a strike has been planned.

“Hoog said, however, that he doesn’t expect the watchdog to make such a drastic move, saying a more likely outcome would be an order to stop future illegal payments from the state. AFP unions and management are meeting Friday to discuss the issue, and unions are calling for a half-day strike to coincide with the meeting.”

What do you think? Does AFP provide a vital public service, or does austerity demand cutbacks?

Follow the latest in French and American news at the Carnet Atlantique.

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3 Responses to Taking a good hard look at AFP

  1. David Sharp says:

    You might like to look at the AFP joint union web site, where I have just published an in-depth file in English on the company’s statutes, including the first ever translation of AFP’s famous statutes into English. http://www.sos-afp.org/en/draft_law_2011
    Best wishes, David Sharp (AFP journalist & trade unionist)

  2. Jerome Besson says:

    I have no opinion whatsoever to share about AFP…. except, except when it comes to Taiwan Matters.
    What is striking in this regard is how AFP sounds like a Chinese media. And when I say Chinese, I mean the Chinese on both banks of the Taiwan Strait. Those rebels who have been living off US-occupied Japanese Taiwan for the last 65 years, and those of the Zhongnanhai persuasion who are intent on uniting with their former civil war foes to better gobble up the beautiful island.
    My informed guess is that AFP took its cue about 45 years ago from the Quai d’Orsay, and has ever since been bent on disseminating the preposterous Chinese claim of sovereignty over US-occupied Japanese Formosa.
    When De Gaulle switched France’s recognition of China from the US-sponsored lethal puppet holed up in Taihoku, Taiwan to Zhongnanhai, then PM Pompidou clarified in a NYT interview France’s position that Taiwan’s status of sovereignty remained as per SFPT, which is to say, un-decided, un-resolved, pending an internationalyy accepted decision that would prioritize the locals’ will.
    Serendipitously, today marks the 60th anniversary of that treaty France signed at San Francisco, where, in article 2b, the Japanese governement agreed to relinquish control of that jewel of the imperial crown.
    Shame on you AFP for siding with the AQs!! Be prepared to eat your heart out when the US decides that time has come to return the loot to its rightful owner.

  3. David Sharp says:

    I’ve also written an explanatory blog post, entitled “What’s Going on at Agence France-Presse?”. http://www.sharp-words.com/notes/?p=492

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