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Alternative Mass Media and Worldwide Mobilization: The Difficult Crusade of Le Monde Diplomatique against Neoliberalism
A conceptualization of alternative media is not easy to achieve. Most authors will give a negative definition of alternative media and insist on the differences between mass and alternative media. The distinctions can be made with reference to the radicalism of media opinions, opposition to mainstream beliefs or originality of content. Using only these three distinctions, it would be possible to imagine alternative mass media, e.g. an alternative newspaper with significant worldwide circulation.

This paper studies Le Monde diplomatique, one of the most influential anti-capitalist newspapers in the world. Created in 1954, this newspaper is translated into 21 languages and has a total circulation of almost 2 million. It also features articles by contributors from all around the world.

Following the major strikes in France in 1995, Le Monde diplomatique took an activist stance with the creation of the World Social Forum. Some of its journalists became leaders of anti-globalization organizations. Le Monde diplomatique has also adopted a radical editorial policy since the mid-1970s. Further, it adopted a Third-World position along with a critical view of the Western Bloc during the Cold War.

Paradoxically, Le Monde diplomatique is an anti-capitalist capitalistic company subject to the laws of the free market. The paper must include advertising to guarantee sufficient revenue. Of course, the need to advertise divides the editorial staff as well as the paper’s readership on the question of ethics. Another ethical problem concerns the editorial staff’s involvement in the social movement. Some journalists would like to keep the prestige of a reference newspaper and avoid conflicts of interests.
Nicolas Harvey
Université Rennes 1 (Centre de Recherche sur l'Action Politique en Europe ), France
International Political Science Association and Secretariat Partners :
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