The information verification process is relevant because it allows clarification of the public debate and confidence in the information. This must be accompanied by neutrality and logic: you have to apply to yourself what you apply to others.

Thus Liberation / CheckNews headlines “FranceSoir: this is no longer a newspaper”, which is more an opinion than a reality. FranceSoir therefore responds to the main points raised by CheckNews and requests that this response be published in full in Liberation.

Information verification

Verifying information is a constant work carried out by France Soir, as evidenced for example by in-depth analyzes of Lancet contributions or of large-scale studies such as the British clinical trial Recovery. For its part, Liberation sometimes disseminates information a little too quickly without always verifying it.

Liberation thus hastened to decry hydroxychloroquine as soon as the Lancet study was published, which has since been invalidated (LancetGate scandal). France Soir had on the contrary carried out a work on this study by alerting very early on various points which made this study not very credible.

A few days later, the same journalist from Liberation, as part of the Recovery study (British study on which France Soir expresses well-founded reservations) made a mistake by indicating that FranceSoir was wrong in the interview report by the study’s chief investigator, Martin Landray. FranceSoir released part of the interview soundtrack, and did not promote false information. Moreover, Liberation had not contacted FranceSoir at the time to verify its own statements.

It is true that unlike Liberation, France Soir interviewed the respective directors of the two studies directly to deepen their understanding of the issues (Mehra and Landray).

A collaborative media, as written in Le Manifeste

France Soir produces information with a model, considered as “atypical” by Libé, including contributors on the one hand, and on the other hand journalists who write in FranceSoir. Finally France Soir relays AFP dispatches like most other media.

Regarding contributors, FranceSoir is no different from other media which also have pages dedicated to external contributions. Would Liberation criticize committed citizens for helping to analyze information since the start of the crisis? Information belongs to everyone, and so does data. If there is one innovation in this unprecedented situation, it is the power of the collective that helps to shed light on the debate. FranceSoir willingly submits to peer review, but what matters most it is the evaluation by third parties which are much more numerous (readers, experts).

Regarding AFP dispatches, FranceSoir relays them, without hesitating to go further as was done for the flawed study of The Lancet. Isn’t it the job of a journalist to verify and produce information? Would Liberation criticize FranceSoir for working too much?

In addition, FranceSoir would have a position against the government after Liberation. FranceSoir has above all given the floor to the French, which includes those who have “Big on the potato” with confinements and the economic crisis. To date, only 23.7% of French people have confidence in the government ( study conducted from November 7 to 8, 2020 on a representative sample of 2,000 French people). Isn’t it legitimate to also carry the voice of the 54% who are not satisfied with the Government’s action? However, this helps to establish a more fair and balanced view of the facts. This will perhaps also reduce the distrust of the French towards the media (only 26% of French people trust the general media as a source of information)

The questioning of an ‘atypical’ model

CheckNews indicates that the FranceSoir model would be “atypical”.

France Soir has worked on its economic model in order to establish what is most important to guarantee the independence of information: financial autonomy. The director of the publication of Liberation Denis Olivennes himself specified that he wanted to establish the independence of Liberation, and that the lifeline is to increase the number of subscribers (26,000) and readers.

No mention is made of the economic model of Liberation, which would have been interesting for comparison. Like others, Liberation receives government aid without which it would be difficult to survive. With 195 employees and despite 5.9 million euros in aid (source: Ministry of Culture), Liberation suffered a loss of 6 million euros in 2019. Between the annual loss and government aid, it would be therefore 12 million euros or approximately 60,000 euros per employee that costs Liberation. This is what probably led P. Drahi’s group to question this model and to orbit the eponymous title.

Links or conflicts of interest

In the context of the declaration of links of interest, would it not have been appropriate for Libération and its CheckNews service to recall the substantial sums received in aid from the government or the abandonment of some 50 million euros of debts owed by the shareholder represented by Mr. Drahi and Mr. Weil. Let us recall that the question of the independence of the media arises and more particularly for the sphere of Mr. Drahi following the privileged treatment obtained by the group Altice with the BNP.

In addition Liberation / Checknews could also have recalled that it has a partnership agreement with Facebook to make “Fee-based checks”. M. Mathiot de Liberation declares: “It’s around 200,000 euros. And for the rest, that is to say for the most part, it is a service of Libé, therefore financed like all the services of Libé. ”

For its part, FranceSoir declares no link of interest that has not received, no state aid.

Liberation came about thanks to committed citizens, as evidenced by the story of our media “Defense of France”. FranceSoir officiates with the support of paid professional journalists and volunteer expert contributors who work tirelessly in addition to their professional obligations. For them all, a single watchword: to present the facts with a view to honest information and independent of the powers, whether financial or political. CheckNews is right to recall that FranceSoir is read by millions of readers. Was it not Pierre Lazareff who said “a newspaper is made to be read”?

Thank you to Liberation for allowing us to repeat that FranceSoir, on November 11, is very faithful to its origins of Defense of France.

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