ANALYSIS - At the end of a methodically conducted undermining work, Emmanuel Macron paves the way to advance without resistance in his project of public broadcasting reform. But the delicate equation posed by the appointment of leaders, highlighted by the episode Gallet, has still not been resolved.
What better way to impose his vision than to discredit that of his predecessor? By pushing the CSA to dismiss Mathieu Gallet, the CEO of Radio France elected unanimously four years earlier, but condemned at first instance for favoritism, Emmanuel Macron demonstrates the limits of the power of appointment conferred on the audiovisual authority by François Hollande. And the soap opera may not be over yet. If Mathieu Gallet appeals the decision of the CSA to the Council of State and he wins, we could meet in mid-2018 with two CEOs of Radio France: the new, which will be designated by the CSA, and the former, who will reinstate his position. Two popes for the same throne. This string has already been used by Philip the Fair to weaken the temporal power of the Church.
At the point where things are, Emmanuel Macron avoids a long and heated debate on the need to reform the mode of appointment of CEOs of the public broadcasting and impose a big bang of the companies that compose it. The undermining work was conducted methodically. First round: in September, the state cut budgets of public broadcasting companies, weakening the authority of their leaders. Second round: Emmanuel Macron says that in his eyes, "public broadcasting is the shame of the Republic", finally destabilizing them. Third round: the government obtains from the CSA that it revokes one of them, paralyzing the three others. Mathieu Gallet being K.-O. and the CSA on the ropes, Delphine Ernotte, Marie-Christine Zaragoza and Laurent Vallet no longer want to fight. Now, the Minister of Culture, Françoise Nyssen, can quietly roll out its roadmap: to vote, by the end of 2018, a law entrusting the power of appointment of CEOs of public broadcasting to the boards companies, and then impose the creation of a joint holding company for France Télévisions, Radio France, France Médias Monde and INA.
This time will she be the right one? The question of the appointment of the leaders of the public broadcasting has never found a satisfactory answer. Because we have to solve a very delicate equation: to hold the short reins of the CEOs, while assuring them a great autonomy vis-à-vis the political power. Three successive Presidents of the Republic thought they had found the magic formula. Nicolas Sarkozy felt that it was necessary to end the hypocrisies and games of shadow by granting himself the power of appointment. It was clear and straightforward, but counterproductive. Jean-Luc Hees, a man on the left, spent five years defending himself with the employees of Radio France to have been appointed by a right-wing president. And Rémy Pflimlin was deprived, for the same reason, of some of his authority over France Télévisions' troops. François Hollande took the opposite direction, entrusting the CSA with the task of appointing in complete independence the bosses of the public service. Seductive idea, but just as ineffective. The CSA appointed men and women who then found themselves without defense against the State, sole shareholder and sole decision maker in budgetary matters. Today, Emmanuel Macron thinks that this power must be entrusted to boards of directors. Like in any other company. But he will face a contradiction. If the public service adopts the codes of the private sector, it risks losing its specific missions and blurring its image even more with viewers. But these are also taxpayers who must pay the fee.
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