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The Financial Times brings word that France has given the go-ahead to a 24 hour news network that will serve as a rival to CNN in the region. La chaine francaise d'information internationale (CFII) "will focus on world affairs, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. The government wants it to be beamed around the world in French, Arabic, English and eventually Spanish."

The channel is backed by French president Jacques Chirac, who "said it was necessary to be in the 'front rank in the global battle of images' to project France's world view abroad." So is it going to be propaganda?

Peut-etre:

Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, culture minister, claimed on Wednesday the new channel would allow France to put forward its own vision of international news, one that was "free, modern and pluralist" but also a bulwark of French "values".

"Who hasn't felt the need that our French idea of news, steeped in the values of democracy, be defended? Who hasn't felt the need that French successes are mentioned in a balanced way as well as the difficulties and the tensions of the world?"

Look for CFII to start broadcasting in the second half of next year.