AFP (Agence France Presse)
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These sources have minimal bias and use very few loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes). The reporting is factual and usually sourced. These are the most credible media sources. See all Least Biased sources.
Factual Reporting: HIGH
World Press Freedom Rank: France 33/180
Founded in 1835, Agence France-Presse (AFP) is an international French news agency that is headquartered in Paris, France. Agence France-Presse (AFP) was founded by French writer and translator Charles-Louis Havas as Agency Havas. In the early days Charles-Louis Havas translated articles from foreign papers, selling the translations to bankers, traders and politicians using carrier pigeons to dispatch news. Agence Havas was the first to start using the Morse Telegraph, which enabled them to transmit news quickly and became a primary means of distribution throughout France and Europe. Subsequently, Charles-Louis Havas transformed his company into a multinational advertising and public relations company and two of his employees, Paul Julius Reuter and Bernard Wolff later founded their own news agencies, Reuters in London and Wolff in Germany. Following the liberation of Paris in 1944, Journalists of the French Resistance established AFP (Agence France-Presse) as a wire-service. The French government gave AFP the assets of Agence Havas, including the Paris building that became its headquarters.
Funded by / Ownership
In 1981, the New Internationalist published an article called “The Big Four” (referring to the ‘big four’ news agencies United Press International, Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse) in which they described Agence France Presse as “AFP is the only one which depends on subsidy from the government of its company – usually through official subscriptions by government offices. As a result it is often regarded as the voice of the French government.” Currently, Agence France-Presse (AFP) is still supported financially by the French state and gets up to 40 percent of its funding from the French government, but maintains its editorial independence by an act of parliament. In April 2018, AFP’s chairman and CEO Emmanuel Hoog stepped down after failing to secure government support. The French state only controls three of the 18 seats on AFP’s board, however it is impossible for a CEO to operate without its confidence since the French government through its various agencies is AFP’s principal source of revenue.
Analysis / Bias
In review, AFP delivers news in video, text, photographs, multimedia, graphics and videographics. Agence France Presse (AFP) utilizes neutral headlines such as “Poland’s Supreme Court top judge defies retirement law” and “Waves of strikes pound south Syria after talks fail.” All information contained in news articles are sourced through quotations, links and the use of field journalists covering stories. A factual search reveals that AFP has not failed any fact checks. In fact, AFP is considered a credible fact checker in itself.
According to a Slate article, AFP first distributed, and then tried to retract an unflattering photo of French President Francois Hollande, but this caused criticism as Slate states “AFP had bowed to political pressure, thus causing some people to call into question the agency’s credibility.” Further, some organizations such as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) claim that AFP has an anti-Israel bias. However, The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is a powerful Boston-based lobby group that tries to curb criticism of Israel in U.S. media. In other words, CAMERA has a strong pro-Israel bias.
Although we did not find substantial evidence of State bias in our review, it must be considered that 40% of their funding comes from the French government, which may influence reporting.
Overall, we rate AFP Least Biased based on balanced story selection and High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing. (7/25/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 7/5/2018)
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