French TV station asks journalists to produce ‘advertorials’ in reports

Staff at iTélé are currently voting on a union motion

France, TV station, advertorials, Reporters Without Borders, RSF, iTele

Image: YouTube/itele

A French TV station is being criticised for asking its journalists to produce ‘advertorials’ - which would not be clearly identified.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the plans by the management of the 24-hour news channel iTélé in order to attract more advertising.

The staff are currently voting on a union motion on the plan, which began yesterday and will continue all week.

The plans were unveiled at a meeting on June 1st between iTélé’s new CEO, Serge Nedjar and the head of the Association of Journalists (SDJ) at iTélé, Olivier Ravanello.

"Mentalities will have to change" because iTélé can no longer earn enough from traditional advertising, Mr Nedjar said - adding that the news channel would have to "participate in more partnership operations".

The RSF claims that plans for programmes funded by brand advertisers and to get corporate sponsorship for certain stories "violates the principles of ethical journalism".

"We deplore such practices, which run counter to the principles that are spelled out very clearly in the Munich Charter for journalists," said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk.

"The charter states without any ambiguity that journalists must never confuse their profession ‘with that of advertisements salesman or propagandist’".

"We strongly condemn any attempt to stray from this principle. The truth and accurate reporting of the facts cannot be contingent on business interests. The reliability of the media and journalistic credibility are at stake".

France is ranked 45th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index – far behind Ireland’s ranking of 9th