Future of TV5 Monde causes heated debate in Paris
April 20th, 2008

The future of the station TV5 Monde continues to generate intense debate between the various partners. At a meeting in Paris last Wednesday, a new holding company was announced, which is intended to be the umbrella organisation for France 24, Radio France Internationale and TV5. Alain de Pouzilhac, former boss of France 24, who is responsible for the creation of this holding company, was named chief executive officer, and journalist Christine Ockrent will be executive director. The board is comprised of twelve members in total, including six representatives of the State.

The name originally planned for the holding company, The Voice of France, was quickly discarded as the Swiss, Belgian, and Quebec partners of TV5 oppose a total takeover by France, which finances 80% of the channel. Alain de Pouzilhac wanted the holding company to also control TV5 Monde, but France’s partners are opposed to this, fearing unilateral decision-making in France. As a compromise, it was suggested that TV5 becomes a partner, but not actually a subsiduary, of the holding company.

According to the French scenario, the place occupied by broadcasts from Francophone partners will be decided by France. The partners are opposed to this way of doing things and Switzerland is threatening to withdraw from the channel.

To untangle the mess, the Canadian government presented a proposal to partners. In a letter made public on Wednesday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Josée Vener, proposed that the post of CEO of TV5 Monde is divided into two, a chairman and a CEO, the latter to be selected and appointed for three years by the board of directors of the channel. Canada proposes Alain de Pouzilhac hold this position for the first three-year cycle.

The meeting in Paris broke up without any final decisions being taken, as some members of the board did not return to the meeting after lunch, and there were insufficient attendees for a quorum.

(Sources: RFI/Radio Canada)