By Angelique Chrisafis
2 December 2010
It was Jacques Chirac's dream: a French rolling-news channel to
challenge the BBC and CNN, beaming Paris's global view into the living
rooms of the world. But the beleaguered France 24 channel has instead
become a showcase for the back-stabbing, bullying and bravado that some
say dominate French workplace relations.
After months of squabbling, walkouts and fears of a feud in the upper
echelons, France 24's boardroom drama has taken a turn for the worse
after police were called in to investigate accusations of spying and
computer-hacking in the organisation.
Journalists at the channel were stupefied this week to discover that
police are looking into charges of a massive spying operation at the
top. Detectives found more than two million confidential files
apparently illegally downloaded from the computers of executives running
France 24, including its president.
The alleged spying operation appears to have targeted the highest
reaches of Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France (AEF), the holding group
created by President Nicolas Sarkozy to merge France 24 with the
country's other global state media, the respected Radio France
Internationale and part of the French-language channel TV5 Monde.
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