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Le Figaro

Le Figaro
Front page of Le Figaro, August 4, 1914
Format Berliner
Owner(s) Dassault Group
Editor Alexis Brézet
Founded 15 January 1826
Political alignment Conservatism
Language French
Headquarters Paris
ISSN 0182-5852

Le Figaro (Template:IPA-fr) is a French daily newspaper of record founded in 1826 and published in Paris.[1] It is often compared to its main competitor, Le Monde.[2] Its editorial line is conservative.[3] It is also the oldest national newspaper in France.[4]

It is the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, although some regional papers have larger circulations.

The newspaper is owned by Le Figaro Group, whose publications include TV Magazine and Evene. The company's chairman is Serge Dassault, whose Dassault Group has controlled the paper since 2004.[5]


File:Premier numéro du Figaro.jpg
First issue, 15 January 1826

Le Figaro was founded as a satirical weekly in 1826,[6][7] taking its name and motto from Le Mariage de Figaro, a play by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that poked fun at privilege. Its motto, from Figaro's monologue in the play's final act, is "Sans la liberté de blâmer, il n'est point d'éloge flatteur" ("Without the freedom to criticise, there is no true praise"). In 1833, editor Nestor Roqueplan fought a duel with a Colonel Gallois, who was offended by an article in Le Figaro, and was wounded but recovered.[8] Albert Wolff, Émile Zola, Alphonse Karr and Jules Claretie were among the paper's early contributors. It was published somewhat irregularly until 1854, when it was taken over by Hippolyte de Villemessant.

In 1866 Le Figaro became a daily newspaper.[9] Its first daily edition, that of 16 November 1866, sold 56,000 copies, having highest circulation of any newspaper in France.

On 16 March 1914, Gaston Calmette, the editor of Le Figaro, was assassinated by Henriette Caillaux, the wife of Finance Minister Joseph Caillaux, after he published a letter that cast serious doubt on her husband's integrity.[10] In 1922, Le Figaro was purchased by perfume millionaire François Coty.[11] Abel Faivre did cartoons for the paper.[12]

By the start of World War II, Le Figaro had become France's leading newspaper. After the war it became the voice of the upper middle class, and continues to maintain a conservative position.

In 1975, Le Figaro was bought by Robert Hersant's Socpresse. In 1999, the Carlyle Group obtained a 40% stake in the paper, which it later sold in March 2002. Since March 2004 Le Figaro has been controlled by Serge Dassault,[6] a conservative businessman and politician best known for running the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, which he inherited from his father, its founder, Marcel (1892–1986). Dassault has 80% of the paper.[6]

Le Figaro switched to Berliner format in 2009.[13] The paper has published The New York Times International Weekly on Friday since 2009, an 8-page supplement featuring a selection of articles from The New York Times translated into French. In 2010, created a section called Le Figaro in English,[14] which provides the global English-speaking community with daily original or translated content from Le Figaro’s website. The section ended in 2012.[15]

Controversy about editorial independence

Controversial both inside and outside the newspaper is its ownership by a person who also controls a major military supplier, as well as being a mayor and senator from the Union for a Popular Movement party, whose son Olivier Dassault is a member of the French National Assembly for the same party.[16] In response, Dassault remarked in an interview on the public radio station France Inter,[17] that "newspapers must promulgate healthy ideas" and that "left-wing ideas are not healthy ideas."

In February 2012, a general assembly of the newspaper's journalists adopted a motion accusing the paper's managing editor, Étienne Mougeotte, of having made Le Figaro into the "bulletin" of the governing party, the Union for a Popular Movement, of the government and of President Nicolas Sarkozy. They requested more pluralism and "honesty" rather than one-sided political reporting. Mougeotte had previously said that Le Figaro would do nothing to embarrass the government and the right.[18][19][20] Mougeotte publicly replied: "Our editorial line pleases our readers as it is, it works. I don't see why I should change it. [...] We are a right-wing newspaper and we express it clearly, by the way. Our readers know it, our journalists too. There's nothing new to that!"[21]


In 2006, Le Figaro was banned in Egypt and Tunisia for publishing articles allegedly insulting Islam.[22][23]

Circulation history

In the period of 1995–96, the paper had a circulation of 391,533 copies, behind Le Parisien's 451,159 copies.[24]

Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Circulation 366,690 360,909 366,529 369,108 369,706 365,083 337,118 332,818 338,618 330,482 323,991 325,509 329,367 330,952

See also

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  1. ^ Le Figaro (French Newspaper), Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Le Monde, whose print edition comes out around lunchtime, was launched at the end of Nazi occupation of France in 1944 and took on the role of France's newspaper of record alongside the more conservative Le Figaro." - France's Le Monde newspaper editor quits after power struggle with staff, Reuters, May the 14th, 2014
  3. ^ "Strauss-Kahn arrest impacts on French election". The Independent. 16 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Le Figaro opts for freemium web model, The Guardian
  5. ^ The press in France, BBC News
  6. ^ a b c "The press in France". BBC. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Media Landscape Media Claims" (PDF). European Social Survey. May 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  8. ^ Millingen, J.G. (2004). The History Of Dueling Including Narratives of the Most Remarkable Encounters. 
  9. ^ "Historical development of the media in France" (PDF). McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Sarah Sissmann and Christophe Barbier, "Une épouse outragée", L'Express, 30 August 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
  11. ^ Janet Flanner (3 May 1930),"Perfume and Politics", The New Yorker. Republished 7 May 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
  12. ^ "Deposit Your Gold for France. Gold Fights for Victory". World Digital Library. 1915. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Le Figaro". Euro Topics. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Mon Figaro - Cercle - Le Figaro in English - articles". Le Figaro. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Mon Figaro - This Week's Top Stories from France". Le Figaro. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Dassault se sépare d'Yves de Chaisemartin", Le Figaro, 1 October 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
  17. ^ "M. Dassault veut une presse aux « idées saines »", Le Monde, 12 December 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2007.
  18. ^ ""Le Figaro" n'est pas "le bulletin d'un parti"", Le Monde, 9 February 2012
  19. ^ "La question du jour. "Le Figaro" est-il un journal d'opinion ou un "bulletin" de l'UMP?", Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 February 2012
  20. ^ "Présidentielle : les journalistes du Figaro réclament un journal plus « honnête »", Rue89, 9 February 2012
  21. ^ ""Le Figaro" : Mougeotte répond aux critiques de ses journalistes", Le Nouvel Observateur, 10 February 2012
  22. ^ "The impact of blasphemy laws on human Rights" (POLICY BRIEF). Freedom House. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Tunisia, Egypt ban newspaper editions on controversy over pope’s comments". CPJ. New York. 27 September 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  24. ^ Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration & Commerce. SAGE Publications. 24 September 1998. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4462-6524-6. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 

External links

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