Accountability systems

French media – and more particularly journalism – accountability systems are very weak. The journalistic profession has no oversight body; as already mentioned French journalists are not regulated by a professional order. Over the past two centuries French journalists and media people consistently expressed a reluctance to be regulated, oversought, as well as made accountable for their professional misconduct or negligence regarding ethics and good practices. The main reason pertains to the sociology of the of journalism elite. Most of elite journalists are politically oriented and often give predominance of opinion versus facts in dealing with news, as well as they are strongly tied to mainly political and economic leaders and organisations. This configuration creates many conflicts of interests – between the required independence of journalism and ties with politics and business – which this elite is reluctant to admit and be accountable for. Actually the body that contributes to make the  accountability of journalists effective, through the decisions of the judiciary, is the 17ème Chambre correctionnelle du TGI de Paris (a section of the High Court of Paris) that is in charge of court cases for press and journalism, enforcement the law of 29 July 1881. This court judges the most controversial cases about journalism misconducts or negligence that could hurt a citizen or an organisation, such as defamation, violation of press freedom, press offences, etc.