French channel resumes work after strike over child coercion

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Paris (AFP)

France's 24-hour news channel iTELE will resume broadcasting on Sunday after a five-week-long strike over the hiring of a presenter who is under investigation for coercion of minors, journalists at the network said.

The journalists voted on Wednesday to end the strike after receiving guarantees from management of editorial independence and to the drafting of an ethical charter.

But they failed to obtain the departure of the presenter, Jean-Marc Morandini, who was accused in July of pushing young actors into agreeing to record explicit scenes for a web series.

The four-part series, "The Falcons", made by Morandini's production company, concentrated on a football team's locker room antics.

A lawyer for two of the actors told AFP at the time that they would be making legal complaints against Morandini for either sexual harassment or abuse of labour laws.

The iTELE channel will resume broadcasting on Sunday with a sharply reduced staff, after dozens of journalists had announced their departure.

The channel returns to air in time to cover the first round of a primary with former president Nicolas Sarkozy and ex-prime minister Alain Juppe fighting to become the rightwing candidate to the presidency.

"On Sunday @itele goes back on air," the channel's Anne Lorrain wrote on Twitter.

"Thank you for your support. iTELE must survive and come back to life," journalist Olivier Galzi wrote.