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French weekly magazines review 28 January 2018

Is President Macron becoming a "Sun King"?; a clamour for reparations by Internet giants and a glowing tribute to Liberia's "Ballon d'Or" President.

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We start with a rare cover page splash in the sports magazine l'Equipe for an African President. The colourful 12-page supplement is for Liberia's new leader George Weah, crowned, in the publication's own words, at the end of an emotionally charged week-end its reporters spent by the former Ballon d'Or winner's side.

"My life has been all about endurance on and off the football pitch" President Weah told l'Equipe, explaining that he “grew up in a ghetto, and had to leave Africa to become a great footballer and then President of his country”. The sports weekly says a gargantuan task awaits "Mister President George" at the helm of one of the poorest countries on the planet.

French President Emmanuel Macron is the pin-up star in this week's Le Canard Enchaîné, after the lavish party he threw at the glass Palace in Versailles for a cream of global business leaders en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

According to the satirical weekly, while getting rich investors to choose France is the essence of Macron's job, his frequent shows at the luxury castle are gradually transforming him into a Sun King.

 

This week's l'Express delves into the unexplored issue of Emmanuel Macron, God and Politics. The magazine claims that he has not only entertained a mystery about his faith, but also failed to speak up about secularism since his election.

Le Point shares that opinion arguing that there appeared to be some confusion in Macron's mind on the issue, when he presented New Year wishes to religious leaders.

As the weekly holds that in the speech, he voiced "his rejection of a secularism which is likely to bring about a type of metaphysical void at the intersection of all faiths, or one that could erase the essence of man and his relevance in a human society".

According to Le Point, Macron's remarks are only going to swell the ranks of critics who believe that "the State has renounced the use of force against the radicalisation of some faiths, allowing democracy to triumph over Republican values".

Le Point also takes up the debate about getting Google and Facebook to pay for the personal data collected from some 3.8 billion internet users around the world.

According to the publication, the most sought-after treasure of the 21st century is not just the source of progress but also of anxiety and fears about its use and abuse.

French philosopher Gaspard Koenig makes a strong case in Le Point about the need to protect the private lives of citizens and give them partial ownership for the data collected. He says that part of the over 12 billion dollars of profits made by social media websites like Facebook ought to go to their subscribers.

And Marianne makes a shocking revelation about some 50 so-called "cheats, hiding in the National Assembly". The left-leaning weekly claims that since 2013, when a transparency law was passed, some lawmakers have allegedly declared only part of their assets. This is while others submitted incomplete documents, reportedly to the quasi indifference of the Higher Transparency Authority.

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