France’s overseas broadcasting is an essential component of its policy of soft diplomacy as a means of disseminating its values and culture overseas, of sharing its vision of the world but also of engaging in dialogue with other cultures.
French cultural diplomacy in the audiovisual field relies on two main channels:
major international media channels such as TV5Monde (broadcasting to over 220 million homes, 24 hours a day), France 24 (close on 200 million homes, also 24 hours a day) or radio stations RFI and its Arabic language subsidiary Monte Carlo Doualiya (close on 50 million listeners a week);
French cinema second only to Hollywood as the most widely distributed cinema in the world.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the launch of certain French overseas productions in partnership with specialist agencies such as Unifrance Films, the BEMF or TV France International and in association with the Institut Français and the French cultural network abroad.
Overseas broadcasting is also a key component of our cultural cooperation and development aid policy, through which France aims to promote cultural diversity and freedom of expression and creation.
France supports its Global South partners by backing their development of their media and their cultural sector. Canal France International is the MAE’s operator of choice in this field. Its missions consist mainly of supporting the professionalization of TV channels and new media and encouraging them to become more independent in their operations (in terms of management, etc.).
These missions are also closely linked to overarching objectives of supporting processes leading to greater democracy and good governance by States and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The importance that the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs places on overseas broadcasting was underscored in 1984 by the creation of a network of some sixty audiovisual attachés. They are in the front line of France’s overseas broadcasting, with five main areas of responsibility: gathering market intelligence, commercial promotion, organisation of specific operations in close collaboration with professionals, coordinating film distribution and setting up cooperation projects.
Update : 16.01.13