Insider activism at AFP and others.
During the April 2012 election in France, an inflated idea of the importance of internet forums and so-called “social media” led the French national news agency to carelessly and knowingly break the law. The agency’s top journalists, and also its management, were convinced that the boring old law, common to many countries, which decrees that no results may be announced via national media until the last polling stations have closed, was a thing of the past.
It had become clear that the battle over AFP’s future was becoming increasingly international, although paradoxically discussion of the changes remained a purely franco-French affair (and has remained so ever since).
I decided that it would be useful to have a copy of the law in English, and proceeded to make an annotated translation which was published by my union, SUD-AFP.
An account of two years spent as an elected member of the AFP Works Committee, produced to back up my bid for re-election in 2011. Although running for a different union than the one I had originally been elected for, I was successful.
February 2010: Unexpectedly, in the midst of an epic struggle over his plans to transform AFP, CEO Pierre Louette resigns. To gain publicity for the union-backed “SOS-AFP” petition, I decide to throw my hat into the ring
In late 2008, it became clear that the conservative administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy was determined to make major changes to AFP’s founding statutes, enshrined in a law dating from 1957. Privatisation was on the cards, and discussion among the agency’s trade unions turned to the idea of a petition. …Meanwhile, it seemed clear that in the new era of the World Wide Web, a petition needed to be online. I knew from experience that it would not be possible to set up a team to do the job, so having already created websites for the unions I simply registered the “SOS-AFP.ORG” domain name and got to work, using basic tools.
Working as a journalist made me painfully aware of the negative effects of advertising, not only on the final consumer of news but also on the people who produce it. In early 2007 the CEO of my employer, Agence France-Presse, had clearly decided that such considerations were old hat. Thanks to my trade union, I was able to contest his decision to create news sites directly funded by advertising revenues.