[FR] CSA considers Eric Zemmour an actor in national political debate and asks audiovisual media to measure his speaking time

IRIS 2021-9:1/13

Amélie Blocman


At its plenary assembly on 8 September, the board of the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (the French audiovisual regulator – CSA) decided to ask audiovisual media to start measuring the amount of airtime given to essayist and polemicist Eric Zemmour in relation to the national political debate from the following day. Zemmour, who appears to be on the verge of standing in the presidential election, had been making daily appearances on the programme “Face à l’info” broadcast on channel C8 and watched by around 700 000 viewers between 7pm and 8pm each evening. The CSA is responsible for monitoring compliance with the rules on political pluralism in accordance with its decision no. 2017-62 of 22 November 2017, under which a third of airtime devoted to political speeches should be reserved for speeches by the president of the Republic, ministers and their colleagues. As regards the remaining two thirds, “broadcasters should ensure that the political parties and groups that represent the main strands of national political opinion are given a fair share of airtime in accordance with their representativeness”.

The CSA considered that “in view of recent developments, Mr Zemmour could now, as a result of not only his statements and actions, but also the debate that they provoke, be regarded as an actor in the national political debate.”

On 13 September, noting the CSA’s decision, the channel C8 announced that Eric Zemmour would no longer appear as a commentator on the programme “Face à l'info”. “Although Eric Zemmour has not declared himself a candidate in the presidential election to be held in seven months’ time, the CSA’s decision of 9 September means that CNews and Eric Zemmour can no longer continue the programme they were making together,” said the channel in a press release. It added that it “regrets the decision, which deprives millions of TV viewers of the chance to hear the commentator’s views.” On the same day, Zemmour was acquitted by the Paris appeal court after being charged with causing public offence and provoking racial hatred in a speech on immigration and the place of Islam in France at the Convention de la droite (right-wing convention), which had been broadcast live on the channel LCI.

Eric Zemmour had already announced, in early September, that he would stop writing a weekly column in the le Figaro daily newspaper in order to promote his book “La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot”, which was published on 16 September. Following the CSA’s decision, the channel Paris-Première also announced the suspension of the programme “Zemmour & Naulleau” and of its collaboration with the polemicist, which had been due to resume for a new season at the end of September.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.