The demining operation was like an impossible mission. Unsurprisingly, she did not succeed. This Tuesday at the end of the morning, the CEO of the Lagardère group, Arnaud Lagardère, accompanied by the president of Lagardère News, Constance Benqué, justified before the employees of the “JDD”, gathered in a packed editorial conference room, the choice of appoint the former editorial director of the magazine “Valeurs Actuelles”, Geoffrey Lejeune, at the head of the “Journal du Dimanche”.
In the process, the Society of Journalists (SDJ) of the “JDD” announced in a press release that the editorial staff deplored “the maintenance of the decision to appoint Geoffroy Lejeune director of the newspaper” and continued its strike, which began last Thursday and voted 99 % of votes. A new staff meeting is scheduled for Wednesday morning to decide on the continuation of the movement. The strike has a good chance of being renewed, according to our information.
According to comments reported by “Le Point” and confirmed by our sources, Arnaud Lagardère would have explained to the employees in substance that he had decided to appoint Geoffroy Lejeune because of his expertise in broadcasting and digital, underlined that it was his choice. , based on economic and not ideological motives, and ured that the editorial line would not change.
Questioned by the embly, he specified that Geoffroy Lejeune could not, once in office, display his ideological proximity with Eric Zemmour. “The world is going to change and we have to adapt too”, he would have declared, however, according to a participant, while specifying that he had not had a political discussion with Geoffroy Lejeune.
“Arnaud Lagardère did not reure the editorial staff. He demonstrated his ignorance of the profile of Geoffroy Lejeune, a person whose values are in total contradiction with those of the newspaper, ”commented the SDJ in its press release. According to our sources, the CEO of the Lagardère group, who last week described Geoffroy Lejeune as “raw talent”, admitted to the embly that he did not read “Current Values”. “How does he know it’s raw talent then?” Mystery, ”comments a journalist present.
Arnaud Lagardère had already justified his choice the day before in an interview with “Figaro”. He describes the former leader of “Current Values” as “a young journalist, talented and at ease with digital”, and refutes the idea of an editorial shift towards the far right, feared by the editorial staff. . “I do not choose Geoffroy in order to change the editorial line, but of course, the “JDD” must also know how to adapt to changes in the world”, he declares to “Figaro”. “The JDD has never been a militant newspaper or an ideological leaflet, and it never will be. This fantasy of the extreme right that invites itself into our weekly is not real,” he says.
Responding to those who see in this nomination the hand of Vincent Bollore, the controlling shareholder of Vivendi, whose takeover bid for Lagardère has just been endorsed by the European Commission,Arnaud Lagardere repeated to the employees of the “JDD”, as in the “Figaro” the day before, that this decision was his. Vivendi cannot take any operational decision relating to Lagardère until the takeover has been definitively recorded by Brussels – which will be the case when once the sales of Editis and Gala finalized.
The editorial staff, for its part, is continuing the mobilization. An evening of support to defend the editorial independence of the media is organized by the NGO “Reporters Without Borders” this Tuesday at the Libre theater in Paris.
After posting this weekend from a support stand by about thirty Societies of journalists, another forum, signed by many personalities from the political, economic and artistic world, was published this Tuesday in the columns of the “World”. Entitled “’The JDD’ cannot become a newspaper serving far-right ideas”, it brings together more than 650 signatories, including Elisabeth Badinter, Joey Starr and Lionel Jospin.
The two camps therefore appear more than ever at odds with each other. By forming a united front, the employees of the “JDD” hope not to experience the same fate as the employees of the “i-Télé” channel, which became “CNews” in 2017, following the takeover of Canal + by Vincent Bolloré in 2015. Their long strike ended with the departure of three quarters of the journalists. “We are extremely united and grouped, it puts balm in the heart, even if everyone is aware that it will be difficult,” admits an editor of the title.