Hollande busted by bludger magazine, but at least they aren’t a Mickey mouse paper

Francois Hollande must be annoyed to know that Closer Magazine, the outlet that busted his rooting, is also a bludger magazine receiving state grants.

Closer, the magazine that has put the French president in a pickle with its photos of an alleged dalliance with an actress, gets more than half a million euros a year in state aid, part of the nearly three quarters of a billion euros that France annually hands out to prop up the written press.

The dailies Le Monde and Le Figaro are the top beneficiaries, getting 18 million euros (£15m) each, with several million of that going to subsidise costs of posting copies to readers, according to figures for 2012 from the ministry of culture and communication.

The state auditor has lambasted the subsidies, saying in a report last year that the written press got five billion euros between 2009 and 2011 in handouts that had “not shown their efficiency” and had led to a culture of “dependence” among editors.

Two hundred publications got state aid in 2012, according to the latest figures, under a policy that began during World War II to foster media diversity.

But the list of publications that benefit raises questions as to how this state aid is boosting democratic or intellectual debate.

The funniest one is a magazine for fans of Mickey Mouse.

Some critics ask what exactly celebrity gossip magazines, or a magazine devoted to Mickey Mouse, le Journal de Mickey, which got 555,059 euros in 2012, do to improve society.

A magazine listed as the Economist is listed as getting 197,306 euros, although it was not clear that this was the British news weekly of that name.

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg last week defended the subsidies, saying that the French press was going through an “industrial crash” that he compared to the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s.

“If we stopped the subsidies… while the press is in difficulty, that would pose a real democratic problem,” he said.

Subsidies are evil…they must fought at every level.


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