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    5. LVMH-owned newspaper Les Echos hit by journalists


    LVMH-owned newspaper Les Echos hit by journalists

    Les Echos reporters accused the authorities of violating their right to veto the appointment of the paper's next editor. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe

    A French newspaper's journalists went on strike for the first time in 16 years amid growing conflict with its billionaire owner over editorial independence.

    Reporters at Les Echos, owned by Bernard Arnault , the second richest person in the world. people left because of fears that the mogul was grossly violating long-standing editorial guarantees.

    The strike means that on Friday the print edition of Les Echos was not published, and the newspaper's website was down for 24 hours.

    The journalists accused the authorities of undermining their right to veto the appointment of the newspaper's next editor. by pooling votes with hundreds of freelancers and non-journalists.

    The abstention would count in favor of the candidate, Mr. Arnault, leaving the news staff effectively in the minority, they argue.

    Society of Journalists (SDJ), representing Les Echos journalists, described the move as a “serious threat” to the paper's independence.

    The standoff came two months after staff staged a so-called writers' strike, which saw reporters' names removed from stories for 24 hours.

    This followed the firing of editor Nicolas Barre, which SDJ says was a “brutal” response to unflattering articles about M. Arno and his luxury empire. LVMH, which owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Tiffany and Moët Hennessy.

    Bernard Arnault (center) and his wife Hélène Mercier-Arnault (center) with (left to right) Alexandre, Frédéric, Jean, Delphine and Antoine Arnault. Credit: Lewis Jolie/Shutterstock

    Layla de Comarmont, President of SDJ, described the last row as “a second stab in the back.”

    She said: “First, they fired our editor, and now they will use the veto in such a way that real journalists will be in the minority, so Bernard Arnault will be able to choose who he wants as an editor.”

    The strike, the first since 2007, comes amid growing concerns about Arnault's influence on the French media. The tycoon also owns French daily newspaper Le Parisien and is a shareholder in gossip magazine Paris Match.

    A source, Les Echos, said one recent article about LVMH raids by French tax authorities in 2019 “didn't go down very well.” good.”

    The insiders also cited other examples of editorial interference in the stories involving Mr. Arnault, his companies, and his competitors.

    A series of independence guarantees was first introduced in 2007 when LVMH bought Les Echos from British publisher Pearson. They include provisions that any decision to dismiss an editor must be approved by a supervisory board whose administrators are jointly elected by Mr. Arnaud and the SDJ, and the editorial board also has veto power over the choice of a successor.

    The SDJ said it had done its best to avoid the strike and held meetings with Les Echos chief executive Pierre Louette and other senior directors to try to get new guarantees of independence.

    However, the journalists said their fears were allayed. deaf ears.

    The SDJ stated: “It is in the interest of all—readers, journalists and the owner—to have access to reliable economic information.

    “A newspaper should be able to write on any subject, including including the shareholder – without censorship and excessive zeal.

    “Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for us to strengthen the guarantees of independence, the fragility of which has been proven by recent events.”< /p>

    Pierre Louette, Executive Director of the Le Parisien-Group Les Echos, said he “regrets” the strike, adding that it was “never a good decision.”

    However, he insisted the veto system was effective, telling AFP: “For my part, , I refuse to sort between journalists with the right to vote and journalists without the right to vote.”

    Responding to a question about concerns about possible intervention by LVMH, Luett said there is no risk.”

    LVMH has been contacted for comment.

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