FRANCE 24's new Spanish programming aims to 'build bridges'
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FRANCE 24 launched a Spanish-language version of its website on Thursday, with a Spanish television news channel set to begin broadcasting on September 26.
Speaking at a press conference at the Louvre museum in Paris on Tuesday, Marie-Christine Saragosse, CEO of FRANCE 24's parent company France Médias Monde, said it was a "dream come true" to see the launch of a project that had only a year ago been merely "an idea on a piece of paper".
Already available in three languages (English, French and Arabic), FRANCE 24's new channel, with an editorial staff based in Bogota, Columbia, will bring its content to millions more viewers around the world.
"Spanish is the third-most-spoken language in the world," noted Saragosse, adding that Colombia had been chosen as a base because it is "a country that is at the centre of the South American continent with labour laws similar to those of France".
While the Spanish version of the FRANCE 24 website is already live, audiences will have to wait a little longer to watch FRANCE 24 in Spanish.
"At 6am in Bogota, 1pm in Paris on September 26, the first-ever broadcast by FRANCE 24 in Spanish will take place," said the head of FRANCE 24, Mark Saikali, at Thursday's press conference.
"The first minutes of the broadcast will be carried on all of our channels and our programmes will have a Latin American flavour to them all week long," he added.
35 journalists, 10 correspondents
The new channel's editorial team, based in a residential area of the Colombian capital, consists of 35 journalists of various nationalities (Colombian, Argentinian, Spanish, French and English) as well as 10 correspondents. The channel will be headed by Alvaro Sierra.
"They have been undergoing training on our editorial line all summer," said Saragosse
With a budget of €7.3 million for 2018, FRANCE 24 Spanish will broadcast six hours of programmes a day (in the morning and evening) mixing 15-minute news bulletins with Spanish versions of FRANCE 24's flagship shows.
The new channel will be broadcast to 6.5 million homes across 10 countries in Latin and South America and aims, according to Saikali, "to build bridges at a time when others are building walls".