Opinions

  • Emmanuel Macron, the Spin King

    French President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters French President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters

    French President Emmanuel Macron has enjoyed a headline-grabbing week of appearances, from hosting international CEOs in the sumptuous surrounds of the Palace of Versailles, to being feted by the world elite at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, before touching down in rural France to woo the country’s agricultural sector. The packed agenda was the latest example of the young president’s skill in occupying the media agenda and promoting double-pronged policies that have anesthetised public opinion, argues Mediapart editor François Bonnet, along with political and economic correspondents Romaric Godin, Manuel Jardinaud and Ellen Salvi, in this joint analysis of Macron's impressive mastership of the art of spin.

  • The case of the French justice minister, an MP friend and a muzzled prosecution service

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    Jean-Jacques Urvoas inside France's National Assembly when he was justice minister. © Reuters Jean-Jacques Urvoas inside France's National Assembly when he was justice minister. © Reuters

    Earlier this month it was revealed that a French justice minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, passed on to a Member of Parliament confidential information about a police investigation targeting the MP for suspected tax fraud, money laundering and influence peddling. Mediapart investigative journalist Fabrice Arfi sets out here why the case is just the latest demonstration of the intolerable lack of independence of France’s prosecution services.

  • What exactly is Mediapart the name of?

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    That is the question we ask ourselves after these dizzy recent weeks of a political and media cabal against us, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this op-ed article, in which he offers an answer and responds to the extraordinary call by former French prime minister Manuel Valls that Mediapart be “removed from public debate.”   

  • The Tariq Ramadan sexual abuse affair: crusade of the imbeciles

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    Leading the charge: former premier Manuel Valls. © Reuters Leading the charge: former premier Manuel Valls. © Reuters

    In recent days Mediapart has been burnt at the metaphorical stake for having supposed “complicity” with the Muslim intellectual and Oxford University professor Tariq Ramadan. Worst still, it has been hinted that this site may have deliberately ignored the actions of a man who today stands accused of rape and sexual assault, claims he denies. This ignominious Donald Trump-style campaign, led by former prime minister Manuel Valls, is part of a wider political movement which brings together elements of the Left who were destroyed at recent elections and the nationalist Right. Mediapart's editor François Bonnet responds to the claims.

  • Why nuclear weapons must be abolished

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    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch in a photo issued on September 16, 2017, by that country's official news agency. © KCNA North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch in a photo issued on September 16, 2017, by that country's official news agency. © KCNA

    The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition of hundreds of NGOs from dozens of countries, puts in stark relief the irresponsibility of those states – including France – who base their security on dissuasion by terror. Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel argues that far from keeping the peace, nuclear weapons spread the risk of a terrible catastrophe, as the current Korean crisis shows.

  • The blush-saving rhetoric surrounding France's labour law reforms

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    The French government has presented the detail of its labour law reform, which were a pillar of President Emmanuel Macron’s election manifesto and which he said was urgent "because it will create jobs". But already, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has downplayed the importance of the reforms, which he now describes as “just the start”. Mediapart economics correspondent Romaric Godin argues in this op-ed article that this is a typical example of the rhetoric surrounding liberal reforms, such as during the European debt crisis, in which their limited results become obscured by the supposed necessity for yet more urgent deregulation.

  • Starched stiff: a translator's view of UN-speak French

    By Santiago Artozqui (En attendant Nadeau)
    Inside United Nations headquaters in New York. © Reuters Inside United Nations headquaters in New York. © Reuters

    Like most international institutions, the United Nations functions in several languages, demanding the translation of its thousands upon thousands of documents of various kinds into six tongues. But the task of its professional translators is far from straightforward, as Santiago Artozqui, a translator of UN texts from English to French, explains here. Not least is what he calls “a misplaced Atticism” required of French-language documents which “dunks the language in starch and leaves it as stiff as the shirt of a notable”.

     

  • The migrant crisis tragedy and the duty of hospitality

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    Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on October 20th 2016. © Reuters Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on October 20th 2016. © Reuters

    Last week a court in Nice handed down a suspended prison sentence to a farmer convicted of helping the illegal entry of three Eritrean migrants into France. Meanwhile, the Italian authorities this month adopted a hostile approach to NGOs operating missions to rescue migrants from perilous conditions in the Mediterranean, accusing them of aiding illegal immigration. In this op-ed article, Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel denounces what he says is an outrageous criminalisation of fundamental acts of humanity, which illustrates both moral bankruptcy and a gross ignorance of the reality behind the migrant crisis.

  • Boomerang effect: Hinkley nuclear project comes back to haunt Emmanuel Macron

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    Emmanuel Macron, then economy minister, and EDF boss Jean-Bernard Lévy at a nuclear power station at Civaux, near Poitiers, March 17th, 2016. © Reuters Emmanuel Macron, then economy minister, and EDF boss Jean-Bernard Lévy at a nuclear power station at Civaux, near Poitiers, March 17th, 2016. © Reuters

    The new French government has reacted as if it were surprised at the news that the French-led project to build a new nuclear power station in south-west England is already behind schedule and over budget. Yet it has known about the financial and technical risks posed by the Hinkley Point scheme for a long time, says Martine Orange. For the minister who personally backed and oversaw the massive project during the last presidency now himself occupies the Élysée.

  • Wanted: diverse National Assembly to counter domination of the presidency

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    Elections take place this month for France's National Assembly. © Reuters Elections take place this month for France's National Assembly. © Reuters

    Through the havoc it wreaked on the established political system, the recent French presidential election showed the hunger that exists for democratic renewal. But if the Parliamentary elections later this month give Emmanuel Macron's government an absolute majority it would be a retrograde step to presidential supremacy and a compliant Parliament, argues Mediapart’s publishing editor and co-founder Edwy Plenel. That is why, he says, we need a pluralist National Assembly encompassing a diverse, democratic, social and environmental opposition.