Spotlight on France

Podcast: Working from home, QAnon spreads to France, when church and state split

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Most French companies were not set up for employees to work from home, but the Covid epidemic forced the change and managers and employees have had to adapt. The American conspiracy theory QAnon has caught on with some in France looking for answers. And the history of France's 1905 law separating church and state and establishing laïcité, or secularism.  

Spotlight on France episode 43
Spotlight on France episode 43 © RFI

The Covid lockdown in France has not stopped people from demonstrating against the global security bill currently going through parliament. Journalists and press freedom advocates are particularly concerned about an article that would limit filming of police and publishing such images online.

The law is intended to protect the police, but opponents says it will prevent the media, and the public, from revealing instances of police violence. Thibault Izoret (@TIM_7375), a photojournalist with the Le Figaro daily, says the bill threatens journalists and democracy in France (Listen @00'35'')

One of the biggest changes ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic is the shift to remote working. In 2017 just three percent of French people worked from home; since lockdown about a third have tried it and it looks set to develop.

But this major shift in work culture hasn't worked for all employees or employers. Sonia Levillain, professor at the Iéseg school of management in Lille, talks about how French work culture is adjusting. (Listen @4'55'')

QAnon, the conspiracy theory that started in the United States, has struck a chord in France, where people are already open to conspiracy theories, and where the Covid epidemic has encouraged some to question the motivations of people in power.

Chine Labbe (@Leparisdechine), a journalist and Europe Managing Editor with News Guard, which published a report on the rise of QAnon in Europe, speaks about the appeal of QAnon in France. (Listen @26'15'')

When you talk about religion in France, all roads point to the law separating church and state, passed on 9 December 1905. Gary Girod of the French History Podcast (@FrenchHist), is back with a look at the history of the law, why the French government is so involved in religious affairs, and why the concept of laïcité is so difficult to understand. (Listen @16')

This episode was mixed by Cécile Pompéani.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on, iTunes (link here), Google podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here), or your favourite podcast app.

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