France profile

France enjoys a free press and has more than 100 daily newspapers. Most of them are in private hands and are not linked to political parties.

In the public interest?

French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace
  • France's privacy laws are among the strictest in the world
  • The French media have traditionally regarded the private lives of public figures as off-limits

Public broadcaster Radio France targets the domestic audience, French overseas territories and foreign audiences. Radio France Internationale is one of the world's leading international stations. Its Arabic-language Monte Carlo International service broadcasts across the Middle East.

The international French-language channel TV5 Monde, financed by Belgium, Canada and Switzerland, is available globally. Global news channel France 24 TV broadcasts in French, English and Arabic. It has said it aims to present "a different point of view from the Anglo-Saxon world".

France's flagship TV, TF1, is privately-owned. The growth of satellite and cable has led to a proliferation of channels. Major satellite pay-TV operator CanalSatellite is controlled by media giant Vivendi Universal. Digital terrestrial TV offers dozens of channels.

Established commercial radios, particularly RTL and Europe 1, command large audiences. They have been joined by a multiplicity of FM stations, often part of successful networks such as those of hit music station NRJ and oldies station Nostalgie.

By June 2012, there were more than 52 million internet users (Internetworldstats.com). Facebook and Skyrock are leading social networks.

The press

  • Le Monde - respected national daily, considered to be France's newspaper of record
  • Liberation - national daily, founded in 1973 by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, centre-left leaning
  • Le Figaro - national daily, centre-right leaning
  • Ouest France - Rennes-based; France's best-selling daily
  • L'Express - news weekly
  • Le Point - news weekly

Television

  • France 2 - national, main public TV network
  • France 3 - national, public
  • France 5 - national, public, educational
  • BFM TV - national, commercial news channel
  • TF1 - national, commercial
  • M6 - national, commercial
  • La Chaine Info - rolling news channel owned by TF1
  • France 24 - publicly-owned global news channel; services in French, English, Arabic
  • TV5 Monde - international French-language TV, with programmes from French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian public broadcasters
  • Canal Plus - national, subscription channel

Radio

French presenter France has a lively public broadcasting sector
  • Radio France - operates national and regional outlets, including speech-based France Inter and all-news France Info
  • Radio France Internationale (RFI) - international broadcaster, via shortwave and FM relays worldwide
  • Europe 1 - major commercial station, news and entertainment
  • RTL - major commercial station, speech and music
  • NRJ - commercial, leading hit music network

News agency

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