Is Sarkozy trying to 'Berlusconise' French media?

Posted By: Staff
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London, June 14 (ANI): French President Nikolas Sarkozy is being accused of 'Berlusconising' French media after he tried to stop sales of France's most influential paper - in light of re-elections.

Sarkozy is looking at stopping Le Monde from falling into the hands of Matthieu Pigasse, a banker who heads Lazard France, and Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent's long-time partner - both seen as close allies opposition Socialist Party.

Along with Xavier Neil, a telecommunications tycoon, the trio plans to invest up to 100 million euros in the paper, which will be unable to pay staff wages in July if it fails to find a buyer.

However, Sarkozy, who appears scared that they will campaign against his re-election in 2012, has threatened to withdraw around 45 million euros in state funds earmarked to help the paper's print works.

Pigasse once worked with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who currently heads the International Monetary Fund and is considered a strong contender.

Berge has long been sympathetic to the Socialist party.

Sarkozy also pointed out Neil as a "peep show man" as he started his career investing in a soft pornography service on Minitel.

"This type of behaviour is deeply reminiscent of (Silvio) Berlusconi (the Italian prime-minister and media tycoon)," The Telegraph quoted a Pigasse team member as saying.

"It is surprising that France has come to this," he added.

Fottorino played down Sarkozy's threat, saying there had been political interest in Le Monde since its creation in 1944 as an impartial antidote to discredited collaborationist titles, "and that's not going to change". (ANI)

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