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Topic: Fox-Style News Network Rides Wave of Discontent in France

It’s the news network that claims it tells viewers what the “woke” mainstream media won’t. It says it fights for endangered freedom of expression, even as it has been fined by the government’s broadcast regulator for inciting racial hatred.


It is CNews — which in four short years became France’s No. 1 news network for the first time in May by giving a bullhorn to far-right politicians, opponents of fighting climate change and a high-profile proponent of the discredited idea of using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19.


The model is Fox News — including the clashing talking heads and incendiary cultural topics — and it has worked. Owned by French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, former chairman of the media group Vivendi, CNews increasingly helps shape the national debate, especially on hot-button issues like crime, immigration and Islam’s place in France that are expected to sway next year’s presidential election.


In a country where trust in the media is very low, CNews emerged at a time of particular discontent — in the aftermath of the Yellow Vest protests of 2018, which, like the U.S. election of Donald Trump, prompted much soul-searching among journalists.


“People were sick and tired of the politically correct, and, in France, for the past 30, 40 years, news was in the hands of newspapers, television and dailies that all said the same thing,” said Serge Nedjar, the head of CNews, explaining how his channel positioned itself in a nation with four all-news networks.


Unlike its competitors, CNews focused on “analyses and debates” of topics that Nedjar said mattered most to the French but had been ignored or insufficiently covered by the media: “crime, lack of safety, immigration.”


He added: “We created this network by telling ourselves we talk about everything, including topics that are explosive.”


Nedjar said that he was unfamiliar with Fox News when CNews was created and waved away comparisons.


“There’s the word ‘news,’ and all the better if it works like Fox News,” he said, referring to his network’s name. “Fox News works really well over there, I hear.”


But critics say the problem is not with CNews’ choice of topics but with the way it treats them. They say it emphasizes on opinion, often backed up with little reporting or fact-checking, propagates popular biases and deepens cleavages in a polarized society.

但批評者說,問題不在於CNews的話題選擇,而是它對待話題的方式。他們說,它強調觀點,很少以報導或查核事實來支持,這助長了偏見,加深兩極分化社會的裂痕。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5769927

Topic: Why France sparks anger in Muslim world: secularism explained

Many countries, especially in the democratic West, champion freedom of expression and allow publications that lampoon Islam’s prophet. So why is France singled out for protests and calls for boycotts across the Muslim world, and so often the target of deadly violence from the extremist margins? Its brutal colonial past, staunch secular policies and tough-talking president, who is seen as insensitive toward the Muslim faith, all play a role.


While French officials often say their country is targeted because of its reputation as the cradle of human rights and a rampart of global democracy, what distinguishes France most is its unusual attachment to secularism (or laicite).


The often-misunderstood concept of French secularism is inscribed in the country’s constitution. It was born in a 1905 law after anti-clerical struggles with the Catholic Church. Separating church and state, the law was meant to allow the peaceful coexistence of all religions under a neutral state, instead of a government answering to powerful Roman Catholic clerics. Crucifixes were at one point torn from classroom walls in France amid painful public debate.


A century later, polls suggest France is among the least religious countries in the world, with a minority attending services regularly. Secularism is broadly supported by those on both left and right. State secularism is central to France’s national identity and demands the separation of religion and public life.


Schools have historically instilled the Republic’s values in its citizens — a task some teachers say becomes ever harder as a minority of French Muslims and adherents of other faiths seek to express their religious identity.


As the number of Muslims in France grew, the state imposed secular rules on their practices. A 2004 ban on Muslim headscarves and other ostentatious religious symbols in schools remains divisive, if not shocking to many outside France. A 2011 law banning face veils made Muslims feel stigmatized anew. In recent decades, the desire among some French Muslims to express their religious identity has dominated the debate around balancing religious and secular needs.

隨著法國穆斯林人數的增加,法國政府在施政也強加上世俗化、非宗教的規範。法國在二○○四年禁止在學校穿戴穆斯林頭巾及其他炫示的宗教符號──若法國以外的許多人不感到震驚的話,對此禁令的看法也仍然分歧。二○一一年所頒布的禁蒙面法,又再讓穆斯林覺得被污名化。一些法國穆斯林希望能夠表達自己的宗教認同,對於如何平衡宗教與世俗非宗教之需求,此議題已占據近數十年來相關辯論的主要部分。Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/11/09/2003746587

Topic: France to ban mink farms and use of wild animals in circuses, marine parks

France’s environment minister has announced a gradual ban on using wild animals in traveling circuses, on keeping dolphins and killer whales in captivity in marine parks and on raising mink on fur farms.


Barbara Pompili, France’s minister of ecological transition, said in a news conference on Tuesday last week that bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will no longer be allowed in traveling circuses “in the coming years.” In addition, she said that starting immediately, France’s three marine parks will no longer be able to bring in or breed dolphins and killer whales.


“It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these (wild) animals,” she said, arguing that animal welfare is a priority.


Pompili said the measures will also bring an end to mink farming, in which animals are raised for their fur, within the next five years. The ban does not apply to wild animals in other permanent shows and in zoos.


The French government will provide an aid package of more than 8 million euros (US$9.36 million) to help animal shows transition to a new business model.


Around 20 European countries have already banned or limited the presence of wild animals in circuses. In France, many cities already do not allow circuses with wild animal shows to pitch their tents.


Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2020/10/05/2003744594



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