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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 17:48 PM | 19-05-2017

Macron faces early tensions with French media

The French presidency attempted to defuse early tensions with the media on Friday (May 19, 2017) after handpicking journalists to accompany newly elected Emmanuel Macron on a trip to west Africa, AFP reported.

Representatives from 25 media organizations including AFP, news channels BFM and TF1 and newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro signed an open letter on Thursday expressing their “concerns” about Macron’s communication strategy.

“It is not at all up to the Elysee to choose who among us has the right to cover a trip, whatever the theme,” the letter said.

Presidential spokesman Sylvain Fort said that “in one or two cases” journalists had been contacted directly and offered some of the limited places available to travel with Macron to Mali on Friday.

Other aides had previously described the choice of journalists as a deliberate ploy to bring along “specialists” rather than the political media pack which routinely follows the president.

“The journalists who were worried can be reassured: the Elysee does not intend to do the work of newsrooms,” said a statement from the presidency addressed to media freedom group Reporters without Borders, which also signed the open letter.

Macron, 39, has said he intends to keep his distance from the press in an effort to restore the authority of the presidential office which he felt was damaged under his gossip-loving predecessor Francois Hollande.

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