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Controls, royalties, editorialists, cartoons... The proposals of the commission of inquiry on TNT

Tighten channel controls at all stages and strengthen the audiovisual policeman: the report of the National Assembly's commission of inquiry into the allocation of DTT frequencies is published this Tuesday, May 14, in full swing those of C8 and CNews.

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Controls, royalties, editorialists, cartoons... The proposals of the commission of inquiry on TNT

Tighten channel controls at all stages and strengthen the audiovisual policeman: the report of the National Assembly's commission of inquiry into the allocation of DTT frequencies is published this Tuesday, May 14, in full swing those of C8 and CNews. Adopted despite disagreements between MPs who are members of the committee, the report contains 47 proposals, including nine from the rapporteur in a personal capacity.

A “victory” for the rebellious rapporteur Aurélien Saintoul, who feared that his work would be buried for lack of agreement, but at the cost of compromise to clearly state the points of divergence. LFI launched the commission of inquiry six months ago, with C8 and CNews, the second largest news channel, in its sights. In this 200-page report, Aurélien Saintoul calls for a “rise in power of Arcom”, an authority described as “weak” and which “struggles to preserve a diverse media landscape respectful of the good conduct of democratic debate ".

“We need solid agreements” setting out the channels' obligations, he argues, deploring that they are too often renegotiated over time with Arcom, the audiovisual regulator. And we must go as far as “withdrawal of the broadcasting authorization” in the event of non-compliance with the rules. Its fines should be able to reach 10% of turnover in the event of repeated breaches by a publisher. Arcom should also be endowed with “the power of investigation on documents and on site to establish the functioning and independence of the editorial staff”, advocates the MP.

Moreover, the disagreements between LFI and the presidential majority - from which Quentin Bataillon, the president of the commission comes - are clearly noted. Aurélien Saintoul thus puts on the table the elimination of Canal's paying model or the principle of a fee for the holders of these public frequencies, which would be proportional to turnover. This would call into question “the future of TNT”, in the eyes of Quentin Bataillon.

The rapporteur also suggests banning youth programs before school. But the president of the commission is opposed to it, on the grounds that children would fall back on tablets and paid platforms. Finally, Aurélien Saintoul wants a “renunciation” of editorialists on news channels because they are, according to him, “intrinsically linked to the written opinion press”. But for Quentin Bataillon, it would be an attack on “press freedom”.

Unsurprisingly, the LFI elected official writes that he “would not understand that the CNews and C8 channels could have their broadcasting authorizations renewed as they stand”. In his eyes, these Canal properties would experience “abuse” and “evasion of the rules”. Interviewed, the leaders of the group, in the bosom of billionaire Vincent Bolloré, nevertheless affirmed that they were “on all (their) obligations of good students”. Host Cyril Hanouna, who earned his channel C8 a total of 7.5 million euros in fines, denounced “relentlessness”. In a rare public intervention, Vincent Bolloré assured him not to intervene on the content and denied wanting to promote “an ideology” of the extreme right, something of which he is regularly accused by his detractors.

“If regulated private DTT remains a specificity of French audiovisual, it must be protected against certain abuses,” writes Aurélien Saintoul in the report. The elected official from Hauts-de-Seine will hold a press conference this Tuesday. He considers that he has “opened the assessment of the liberalization of television”, which he wants to “return to the people”. The president of the commission of inquiry Quentin Bataillon, with whom disagreements have been keen, will present the path to the presidential majority on Wednesday.

Coincidentally, the applicants for the 15 digital terrestrial television frequencies put back on the market this year must deliver their application files to Arcom on Wednesday. Their names will not be known for several days. The independent authority will choose the incumbents at the end of July and the agreements will be negotiated in the fall.

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