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Mass resignations at French newspaper Le Monde

media Le Monde head office, Paris CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr/ Portzamparc Francais

Journalists at France’s most famous newspaper, Le Monde, are meeting today to decide their next move after seven of the paper’s editors resigned on Tuesday.

They are angry at what they say is the brutal imposition of reforms and the re organisation of the paper and its website.

The resignations follow months of tension betweens staff and management, less than 14 months after the appointment of former journalist Natalie Nougayrède as Director.

Her appointment in March 2013 was approved by 80 per cent of staff in a vote at the time but she is now the subject of considerable criticism.

In a letter accompanying their resignation, the editors denounced “a general loss of confidence in the governance [of Le Monde]” and called for “a management which is collective and functional” so that “those who do the work are listened to”.

Some journalists described Nougayrède as “isolated” and “unwilling to listen” and criticised the number and the speed of changes.

A proposed re-structuring plan would abolish around 50 jobs on the paper edition and redeploy the staff elsewhere – notably on the website. Several temporary contracts would not be renewed when they expired.

The president of the board of directors of Le Monde, Louis Dreyfus, on Tuesday announced a new, longer timetable for any restructuring, in response to the resignations.

The centre-left Le Monde, which was founded in 1944, is published in the afternoon in Paris and dated the following day. It is available outside the Paris region only the following morning.

It is currently undergoing the same difficulties faced by many newspapers in France and elsewhere, with rapidly falling sales.

The editor of left-wing Libération resigned recently in the face of similar resistance to proposed reforms.

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