Ethics, Broadcasting and Change: The French Experience

Christine Ockrent

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
Ethics, Broadcasting and Change: The French Experience

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In this lecture, the author, a broadcaster and programme maker, analyses the ethics underlying rapid change in France's broadcasting system. She details the shift at the TF1 Network from a public-sector organisation run by ‘miserly, incompetent civil servants’ to a private-sector broadcaster, owned by civil engineers. The author claims that deregulation is ‘inevitably damaging to standards’, and that television ratings have become the key consideration with game shows, sitcoms, American series and films dominating French television schedules resulting in ‘conformity and uniformity’. The paradox which emerges is more television channels but less consumer choice. Standards of news programmes have also declined as ‘some presenters…imitate entertainment shows’ and ‘what is interesting has long since overrun what is important’. The author also insists that whatever its dangers, expansion is essential if the broadcasting system is to survive and compete internationally. This will require large capital investment of the kind Rupert Murdoch has made in Britain to develop satellite and cable channels in France.

Keywords: France; broadcasting; ethics; TF1 Network; deregulation; standards; television channels; expansion; capital investment; Britain

Chapter.  3420 words. 

Subjects: Television

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