Record strike in defence of journalistic values at French Sunday paper

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the determination of the journalists at the French Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche (JDD), who begin on 24 July their 32nd consecutive day on strike in defence of journalistic values, making this one of the longest French media strikes since 1975.

JDD’s readers are spending their fifth weekend in a row without their Sunday paper, which is unprecedented in the French media world since the 28-month strike at the Parisien newspaper in 1975. 

Following a poll on 22 July at which 98% of the participating JDD journalists voted in favour of continuing the strike, the duration of the strike now exceeds the two historic strikes in the French media, the 31-day strike at i-Télé in 2016 and the 27-day strike at Radio France in 2015.

In 2016, the journalists at i-Télé were defending their editorial independence against meddling by their new owner, French billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré, who is now in the process of taking over JDD from the French media group Lagardère.

The appointment of a new editor at JDD is seen by its journalists as a sign that Bolloré is already taking charge and plans to betray the newspaper’s history by prioritising opinion at the expense of factual reporting and rigorous journalistic analysis.

"That the strike by JDD’s journalists has lasted so long is perhaps a surprise, but this record duration is commensurate with the attack on the values of journalism. I salute the determination and courage of its journalists, who refuse to be sacrificed and who are fighting so that journalism does not allow itself be crushed by an owner who has nothing but contempt for journalism. This major protest has risen to the challenge, and the staff at JDD deserve a proportionate level of solidarity.

Christophe Deloire
RSF secretary-general

The campaign in support of JDD was launched at a huge meeting with around 1,000 participants that was organised at RSF’s initiative at the Théâtre Libre in Paris on 27 June in defence of editorial independence. Two bills were then submitted to the French parliament on 19 July proposing concrete mechanisms for safeguarding editorial independence and, as one of the bills said, for preventing an owner from imposing “an editorial director at the head of a newspaper against the opinion of 99% of the journalists he employs.”

To support the JDD strike, you can donate to their strike fund here

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