French press review 23 January 2014

Ukraine, government spending, immigration, the media, rich gits and electromagnetic waves . . . you can't fault the nation's editorial teams for any lack of imagination this morning.

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The front page of catholic daily, La Croix, warns that the French public wants more good news. To which the nation's editorial teams might be inclined to say that the problem is with the world, not with those who simply report on it.

Those questioned in an opinion poll for the catholic paper are adamant: they want a constructive presentation of the news, rather than an endless litany of crises, clashes and collapses. Instead of perpetuating the sense of doom and gloom, we journalists are to look on the bright side, find reasons for hope, suggest how things might be improved.

The French are ever more avid for information, according to the latest edition of a survey La Croix has been running for the past 20 years, but they now tend to use a wide variety of sources . . . the daily paper and the evening news on the telly have long been blown away by internet and mobile phones. But radio and television between them still provide 74 per cent of regular access to news. The French, at least those who spoke to La Croix, still trust journalists, would you believe, especially political commentators. They weren't asked about radio press reviewers, which is, frankly, a relief.

La Croix readers won't like this morning's other front pages . . .

Libération gives the front page honours to Ukraine, with the tragic news that at least five people lost their lives in clashes with the police yesterday. The protest, ostensibly calling for closer ties with Europe and an end to manipulation by Moscow, has had its political platform gradually widened so that it is now seen as an anti-government movement. Hence the brutality of yesterday's crackdown by the police.

This is going to be another day of truth for French president François Hollande, according to the front page of business paper, Les Echos. Something called the Strategic Council for Public Spending is to meet the president this morning, with a view to sorting out how 50 billion euros can be saved between 2015 and 2017. Don't expect miracles. The Strategic Council was created less than a week ago and is just the Prime and five other government ministers. When you ask the fox to guard the henhouse, as the saying goes, don't expect too many omelettes.

Right-wing Le Figaro is irate that too many illegal immigrants are being given the legal right to stay in France. Figaro laments the fact that 23 per cent fewer "illegals" were expelled from the territory in 2013 by comparison with 2012 statistics. And, shock, horror, 46,000 residence cards were issued in the same dark year, meaning another 46,000 people who can live and work freely in France, without risking arrest by the police or exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

Communist L'Humanité is irate too. The lads at L'Huma note that shareholders in the top forty French companies divided up 43 billion euros between them last year, and that the next 12 months are probably going to be even better. The communist daily is ablaze with annoyance at the continuing cheating which is allegedly practised by multinationals like the fast-food restaurant chain, McDonald's. L'Humanité says the burger vendor siphons off billions of euros in profits each year, thus avoiding a huge part of its tax obligations to the French authorities.

 

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