French Government Sets up Committee to Study Agency’s Future

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The five "experts" appointed by Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand include Michèle Cotta, Jean-Marie Colombani and Henri Pigeat, a former CEO of the company

Extract from AFP wire story dated December 10 (our translation):

PARIS — French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand on Thursday announced the creation of a "group of experts" to study the future of Agence France-Presse (AFP). It is to be chaired by Henri Pigeat, president of the main Paris journalism school and a former CEO of the Agency.

In addition to M. Pigeat, the group comprises Michèle Cotta, a journalist and former French television executive, Jean-Marie Colombani, former director of the daily newspaper "Le Monde", Fabrice Boe, a former president of the French subsidiary of Prisma Presse, and Francis Teitgen, a former senior barrister and a director of the Ouest-France regional press group.

A reaction from the CGT journalists’ union (SNJ-CGT - translated extract):

"The SNJ-CGT would like to know exactly what legitimacy some of these "experts" can claim in studying the future of the Agency. .../... They must be pulling our leg.

"Henri Pigeat, president of the expert group: He was AFP’s CEO from 1979 to 1986, and in the latter year he plunged the company into one of the longest labour conflicts it has ever known. He had to leave AFP with his tail between his legs due to mass opposition from staff following a major work stoppage sparked by his plan to eliminate no less than 150 jobs.

.../...As for Jean-Marie Colombani, he had to leave "le Monde" after having plunged the daily into a serious crisis by a reckless policy of mergers and acquisitions.../..."

NB: Of the five "experts" appointed by F. Mitterrand, only Michèle Cotta is a signatory of the "SOS-AFP" petition