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Alain de Pouzilhac, the chairman of France’s international broadcasting service, AEF, has resigned. Appointed under President Nicolas Sarkozy to merge RFI with the France 24 and TV5 television channels, he was invited to leave his post by the newly elected Socialist government.
In a message to employees, Pouzilhac declared that he was leaving “with much sadness” on Thursday.
The merger plan that he headed aroused heated opposition from trade unions at RFI, leading to several months of strike action, as well as criticism at France 24 and the Arabic radio MCD Doualiya, which is also part of the AEF.
On Wednesday Pouzilhac met Culture Minister Aurélie Filipetti and Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius. According to reports in the French media they offered him an “honourable way out” but pressed him to quit the company.
Parliamentary elections 2012
During the election campaign President François Hollande signed a petition opposing the merger drawn up by the majority of unions at RFI.
The new government invited former RFI boss Jean-Paul Cluzel to draw up a report on the AEF.
Leaked copies indicate that he has proposed two main options for the future.
Either RFI is linked to state-owned Radio France and France 24 to France televisions or the AEF remains but the media’s editorial teams remain separate.