France | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution and governing institutions generally maintain a free and open press environment, although a number of violations of press freedom have occurred in recent months. In April 2003, a controversial new internal security bill, known as the Perben law, was introduced that included provisions requiring all persons to hand over any documents requested by authorities; if passed, the bill would threaten the confidentiality of journalists' sources. Police searched the home of journalist Gilles Millet in June as part of an investigation into his possession of confidential material; although the right to freedom of information exists, it can be restricted in such cases to protect the reputation or rights of a third party. Millet was convicted in October and given a suspended sentence. Several accusations were made that the government and/or media owners influence media content, including claims of bias in coverage of the war in Iraq. Journalists covering demonstrations outside the Franco-Africa summit meeting in Paris in February were detained without explanation. The empty car of a journalist who had written on a bomb attack in Corsica was found with bullet holes in September, an occurrence consistent with previous threats to journalists in Corsica. France strictly enforces guidelines requiring 60 percent of broadcast content to be of EU origin. Internet access is unrestricted.