14 Oct 2019 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 24 Sep 2018 n° 99/2018 France

Controversial "Election" of Agence France Presse CEO

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
The election of Fabrice Fries, former CEO of Publicis Consultants, to the presidency of Agence France Presse (AFP) on 12 April 2018 has been seen by several journalists' unions and by the AFP journalists' society as a dangerous political grip on this news agency ranked third in the world. A letter signed by three directors of the AFP and addressed to the Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen argues that this "election" of a single candidate is a political parachute operation. They explain that the government's decision to withdraw its support for one of the two remaining candidates, Emmanuel Hoog, has led to the immediate withdrawal of Mr Hoog's candidacy to the advantage of Mr Fries. This had the effect of circumventing the rules of the usual process of selecting the future CEO. Fabrice Ries was in the end appointed CEO without obtaining the 13 votes necessary for his election, out of the 18 voting members of the board of directors of the agency.
Updates
14 Oct 2019
On 19 September 2019, the Paris Court of Appeal (labour chamber) ordered AFP to retroactively grant employees with “head office” status pay increases under the SPQN agreement. It also quashed the 2017 deal on the per diem flat rate.
22 Apr 2019
On 26 March 2019, AFP employees called a 12-hour strike in support of further revising the cost reduction plan.
18 Feb 2019
On 21 January 2019, AFP revised prospective job cuts from 125 to 95 net positions in five years, while maintaining the savings target.
05 Oct 2018
On 4 October 2018, AFP CEO Fabrice Fries presented the Agency's Board of Directors with a "cost reduction" plan based essentially on a net reduction of 125 workstations (85 technical and administrative staff members, and 40 journalists).
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