France

Any attempt to consider the multiplicity of media accountability instruments in France as a final point of discussion about their effectiveness would be rather optimistic. The frequent debates about new charters of ethics or public denunciations of deviant practices in journalism are critical of their unequal uses or their effects on the practical functioning of the profession. This report suggests firstly that the effectiveness of media accountability instruments in France depends on their acceptance within the journalistic profession. Since the journalistic field tends to function as a quite autonomous space, the most efficient instruments are those which the journalistic field produces, whether they are institutionalized (like ombudsmen) or not (e. g., satirical programs or articles). Secondly, this report discusses the objectives of these instruments according to their situation within the journalistic field. For example, an ombudsman can relate to different conceptions of ›what deontology is all about‹ (the will of ›seriousness‹ in an intellectual newspaper versus the will to maximize audiences in a private TV channel such as TF1).

For more details see Olivier Baisnée / Ludivine Balland (2011): France: Much Ado about (almost) Nothing? In: Tobias Eberwein / Susanne Fengler / Epp Lauk / Tanja Leppik-Bork (eds.): Mapping Media Accountability – in Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Herbert von Halem Verlag, pp. 63-76.

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