Browsing through a past edition of the Economist, I came across this article about a French news channel that broadcasts in English and Arabic. The channel was recently shocked when President Nicolas Sarkozy stated that he thought it should only broadcast in French.
France 24 is France’s version of Al-Jazeera, a way to communicate a French perspective on news but at the same time keeping it accessible to even those who didn’t get past their high school vocab list of bonjour and merci. Despite France 24’s difficulties in finding distribution channels in the US, the broadcasting company has offered a fresh perspective in comparison to other global news media.
Sarkozy wants the channel to become French only, because he is “not disposed to finance a channel that does not speak French.” Yes Sarko, blame it on the budget. Foreign Minister Bernard Koucher doesn’t agree with his co-worker, much like most of the managers of France 24 who have already committed to lobbying for their trilingual broadcasts. From a country that has its own academy to protect its language, it will be interesting to see where this goes, just make sure not to judge too hard.
One thing is sure: Sarkozy’s choice does seem odd given his pro-American stance, but maybe some people just want to keep things en français.