Bitter legacy of a once-mighty French newspaper empire


The Hersant newspaper group disintegrated a few years ago, following massive job losses, the closure of titles and insolvencies. However the demise of this once-powerful group which had owned close to 50% of the national and local French press, is still having an impact in French overseas territories where it also had a strong base. Julien Sartre reports on the lingering effects of the fall of a newspaper empire which had influence around the globe.

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There was a time when the name Hersant made ministerial offices quake and was a powerful voice in the corridors of France's National Assembly. It was, after all, a colossal newspaper group whose daily titles operated across French territory in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, and which was built up by former right-wing politician Robert Hersant. After the end of World War II he was convicted for collaboration with Nazi Germany, but by 1950 he had founded his first media title.