Difficult status of France 24 correspondents abroad

Employed through production companies, these journalists are paid on invoice. A status even more precarious than that of a freelancer.

by and

For Anne-Fleur Lespiaut, the life of correspondent from France 24 in Mali suddenly ended on March 22. While the military in power had just suspended the broadcast of the RFI channel and radio (two entities of the public audiovisual group France Médias world) in the country, management in Paris asks her to leave Bamako, where she had settled At the end of 2020. For several months, the young woman toured the cost of degrading diplomatic relations between Paris and Bamako, where she was publicly qualified as “persona non grata in the service of French propaganda media”. Since her return, she faces other worries. “I am dry, France 24 did not maintain my salary,” deplores the 28 -year -old journalist, which had however been insured.

In fact, contractually, nothing obliges France 24 to honor this promise. As the overwhelming majority of the 160 correspondents of the public channel, Anne-Fleur Lespiaut is actually considered as a service provider, remunerated not directly by the chain but by one of the 47 subcontracting production companies. Despite the “minimum guaranteed amount” that France 24 paid the company every month that employed it in Bamako, Media Production Africa (HMPA), its director Patrick Fandio estimated that it was “responsibility” of France 24 To compensate Anne-Fleur Lespiaut, not his own, as he wrote in a statement released after being implicated in an article in the Duck Enchaîné. Contacted, Patrick Fandio referred us to this text. On May 10, he announced to the channel that their collaboration would stop in December.

“Anne-Fleur was not our employee”, Riposte Loïck Berrou, assistant to the director of France 24 in charge of magazines and reports. A privileged interlocutor of the correspondents, the journalist defends a system “which allows France 24 to have a network that holds up, and the correspondents to earn a good living”. An appreciation that all those we interviewed do not share. “Several of us had to abandon our status as a freelancer (therefore also payment in salary, and obtaining the press card), to base our companies and be paid on invoice, explains a journalist who prefers to keep the Anonymity, fear of losing its only source of income. We therefore do not contribute to the “security” for our pensions, we are not entitled to maternity leave, neither unemployment, nor dismissal allowances if we are fired “All can contribute to the CFE (the Caisse des Français abroad), but some ensure that it does not have the means: not only the income differs according to the workloads and the covered areas, but the cost of the life is not identical on all points of the globe. “There are also people to whom this system is suitable,” recalls a figure of the antenna, which however pleads for its improvement.

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/Media reports.