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L’Humanité is in danger!

by Patrick Le Hyaric, editor-in-chief of l’Humanité, translated by Henry Crapo

Translated Wednesday 24 May 2006, by Henry Crapo

Gather together the 17th of June in the offices of the newspaper, to save l’Humanité.

Once again we thank those who participated in the subscription and initial financing, as co-founders of l’Humanité Dimanche. We say this with all the more warmth and enthusiasm because it is this money that has permitted us to meet our financial needs during these past two and a half months.

Launched on March 9, l’Humanité Dimanche goes to print with its twelfth issue this week. All the feedback we have received indicates that its readers are highly satisfied. This new magazine has permitted us to bring in, on the average, 3000 readers via distribution by militants, and about 2000 via newsstand sales. But its potential far exceeds these present sales, because research has shown that newsstand sales are easily doubled when a magazine is well-presented in the kiosks and magazine racks. One of our weaknesses today is precisely its lack of visibility at points of sale for newspapers and magazines. l’Humanité Dimanche ought to be shelved in the category of general information.

The success of l’Humanité Dimanche will provide us with means to offset the operating deficit of our overall structure. This can happen only with a vast effort further to enlarge our militant distribution. The HD is thus a tool to increase the number of people who will discover our press, and to bring us toward a development strategy that, eventually, should lead l’Humanité out of its crisis. But time presses. This is urgent, extremely urgent. I have often had occasion to alert our readers to our financial difficulties, due chiefly to interest payments on our loans and to the incessant increase in the costs of production, distribution and transport. These costs will certainly not decrease, what with the cost of fuel and the announced increase of 7% in the price of paper. The carry-forward from year to year of our operational deficits means that we enter the month of June in a critical situation. The risk now is a cash flow crisis. In this situation, a serious threat weighs on the very existence of our newspapers. We issue a call for mobilization, a call to action, so that, after Info-Matin, Le Quotidien de Paris, Le Matin, La République, we will not be forced to close during the summer months.

We call upon those in official positions of government. Why do they take no new initiative in order truly to guarantee the pluralism of the press, by increasing aid to newspapers with weak resources? Why don’t they provide an incentive to those who aid newspapers with their subscriptions, by granting them fiscal deductions?

We call upon the economic world. Is it normal that l’Humanité is not treated on a basis of equality with other media when it comes to communication publicity? All the press enterprises were recently recapitalized thanks to support from economic sectors. Don’t justice, democracy and pluralism require economic actors actively to engage themselves in a processes, of forms to be determined, while still respecting editorial independence?

We call upon the world of the media. Why is l’Humanité so seldom cited in press reviews? Why do the audiovisual media create partnerships with most of the print media today, but not with l’Humanité? Why are the journalists of l’Humanité not invited to discussion programs along with other journalists?

To let l’Humanité close, is to cut off democratic debate, and to sever connections with one of the most noble republican traditions. On so many recent occasions, l’Humanité has shown its usefulness to the public interest: in its engagement to defeat the extreme Right in the presidential election, in its mobilization for peace in Iraq and the Near East, not to mention the debate over Europe.

We launch an appeal to our readers, and beyond them to all those who rely on l’Humanité to make their voices heard. We call for vigilance, and for an exceptional form of mobilization. We propose to gather the coming 17 June at the offices of the newspaper, for a day of debate and initiatives on how to safeguard and developl’Humanité.

In the meantime, the subscription campaign for co-founders of HD should grow even further, and militant distribution should increase. The distribution and sale of vignettes for entry to the Fête de l’Humanité should become a major campaign for financial aid to the newspaper. We cannot exclude the idea of taking loans from our readers, as we did four years ago, in order to meet our financial needs for this summer.

In the coming days we will propose to a whole range of political and labor-union personalities, to those from the world of the media, the creative industries and culture, to launch an appeal for the defense of pluralism and of l’Humanité, as guarantors of Democracy.

See you on the 17th of June!

P.S published in l’Humanité, 23 May 2006.

published in l’Humanité, 23 May 2006.

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