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Journalists at France's most prestigious daily Le Monde go on historic strike

Journalists at France's most prestigious daily go on historic strike
No to job cuts: Employees of Le Monde daily newspaper and Fleurus publishing demonstrate inside the newspaper building in Paris April 14, 2008. Journalists at Le Monde, one of France's most highly respected daily newspapers, went on strike for only the second time in the paper's history on Monday in protest at heavy cuts in newsroom staff.Photo: Reuters / Philippe Wojazer

Journalists at Le Monde, one of France's most highly respected dailies, went on strike for only the second time in the paper's history Monday in protest at heavy cuts in newsroom staff. Le Monde, read by 2 million people everyday, is one of the country's most influential newspapers with extensive contacts in the French establishment and an unwaveringly intellectual tone.

A new management team told staff earlier this month that the Le Monde publishing group would sell a number of titles and cut 130 newsroom staff at the flagship daily, including a quarter of its 340 journalists. Like other media groups, it has been struggling with declining advertising revenues and increased competition from other news sources including the Internet, a Reuters report said.

The paper has announced losses of 20 million euros ($31.64 million) in 2007 after a loss of 14.3 million euros in 2006. It has accumulated debts of 150 million euros.

Staff at Le Monde's website, lemonde.fr, which is published by a sister company of the paper, did not update the site with articles from the print edition, the Guardian reported. Le Monde staff, gathered in a general assembly earlier in the day, voted to mandate representatives to negotiate a new plan with management. The motion was passed overwhelmingly: 251 people for, nil against and four abstentions.

Set up in 1944 after the liberation of France from the Nazis, Le Monde appears each day in Paris and some other big cities around lunchtime dated the following day, when it also becomes available in the rest of the country.

The strike, which means Tuesday's edition will not appear, is the first time Le Monde journalists have gone on strike since 1976, when they stopped work to protest against the acquisition of the daily France Soir by media tycoon Robert Hersant. It is the first time they have gone on strike in protest at a development within their own company.

The management, according to the website France24.com, said it wanted to sell off several loss-making or "non-strategic" niche publications including Cahiers du Cinema, the celebrated film criticism magazine. Past contributors include writers who went on to become celebrated film directors, such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer.

Date posted: April 1, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 468