This 'hotel republic' gravy train that dishonours France


Mediapart’s revelations earlier this month of the use of public funds by French environment minister François de Rugy for his dinner parties and decorations of his grace and favour apartment led to his resignation last week. Amid accusations from some complacent quarters of a media ‘witch-hunt’, Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel sets the record straight here: the means, the residences, the funds and the personnel of France’s institutions, he writes, do not belong to those elected representatives and members of government who are momentarily at the service of the state. By revealing the persistent lack of probity, Mediapart’s investigations are firmly in the public interest.

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What purpose does journalism serve? Is it to relay the voice of the government, its “communications” strategy and propaganda? Or is it to report on information of public interest, which would otherwise remain smothered and hidden? Should the media believe, without counter-checking, official statements and denials? Or should they challenge these with the reality of acts, of decisions and behaviour?