In this article, we share the three pages of the decision of the Commission of First Instance on the recognition and protection of the title of professional journalist, in the context of Alexandre Penasse’s request for renewal of his press card, which was unanimously refused by the members. These bodies representing the mass media, instruments of propaganda, have the nerve to reproach Kairos for having a point of view and an editorial line. They can afford the absurd, because they have with them the power to appoint, endorse or banish. For the moment…
In December 2021, the Accreditation Commission refused to extend my press card, stating that I had not notified it that I was engaged in another paid activity — continuing, as the Commission found, my activity as a journalist, but refusing a double salary and therefore to be paid for this activity. The Commission therefore considered that journalism was no longer my main activity. In addition, Amid Faljaoui, director of the magazines Le Vif/L’Express and Trends-Tendances, receives 150,000 euros per month from the bank Degroof Petercam, but continues to write economic columns on the radio The FirstNot to mention all the others who move from the media to the private sector or to politics, and vice versa.
At the time they first refused to renew my press card at the end of 2021, the Commission had no criticism of the nature of the work I was doing. Since then, more than two years have passed, paid full time as a journalist. So in June 2022 I reapplied for a renewal of my press card, an application that the Commission has just unanimously refused, citing that my » journalistic activity does not correspond to the terms of the 1963 law as specified by the jurisprudence of this commission « (The 1963 law organizes the recognition and protection of the title of professional journalist, see the document at the end of the article).
The Commission that judged me recalls that the law of December 30, 1963, provides that the title of professional journalist can only be recognized to a person who participates » writing daily newspapers or periodicals, radio or television news programs, filmed news or news agencies devoted to general information. In accordance with its constant jurisprudence since its creation, the Commission assimilates communication activities to advertising or commerce, activities that are incompatible with the title. It is necessary to distinguish between communication in the service of the public interest and communication in the service of the general interest (…) The commission recalls that the purpose of the information body in which the person who wishes to be recognized participates must be information. Editorial should not be used as an alibi for other motivations « .
» Editorial should not be used as an alibi for other motivations « , you say, so you accuse Kairos of doing « communication » and not participating in a general interest information. It seems that by projection you are talking about the media of which you are the representatives. These are the big families that have concentrated the press in a few groups sharing the different media that they now call « brands », journalistic brands that use their editorial content to make us buy the advertisers’ products, right?
Is it not also them who have served as a sounding board for government choices, even more visibly since the Covid crisis, calling journalists and citizens who did not follow the official narrative orders « conspiracy theorists » or « antivaxx »?
The mass media are nothing more than consent manufacturing agencies for which you are the official guarantors. You do not like to look at yourself in the mirror, especially when, like several members of the Accreditation Commission, you are retired: you do not look at your entire career in the service of the order with lucidity, you risk falling down…
Is it not the universities and colleges that have changed their titles from « journalism » to « communication », definitively endorsing the tipping of the journalist into advertising formatting? You say in your decision, and I quote: » The bimonthly Kairos, the website kairospresse.be, the facebook page of Kairos appear today as tools of an activist expression. And add: » The information process requires, for a given theme, to cover all the subjects related to it, to relate all the facts, opinions and comments relevant to it in various ways. It does not prevent the author from expressing a personal position, or even a commitment, by developing a reasoning and the arguments that support them. On the other hand, a news media cannot be a relay of such a position presented in a unilateral way. Commitment cannot jeopardize journalistic independence « .
Doesn’t your blindness hurt your eyes? The Covid episode, for almost three years, has been treated by the media in a way that will go down in history, if one day the official propaganda agencies stop writing it themselves. Never has the debate been so forbidden, while Kairos proposed a great debate in June 2021 and invited all the official experts, only one of whom responded — and refused the invitation. This debate will lead to the closure of our Facebook channel, without you being indignant about it. Never have those who think differently been so vilified by the political-media order. And you dare to say that we were the relays of a position presented in a unilateral way? The future will show us that your treatment of information, your stigmatization, division, guilt are directly responsible for the death of individuals. And your silence, unforgivable, while we know for example that the editor of La Libre who vilified in his newspaper the doctors who treated Covid early with ivermectin, was personally treated with it.
You are not the bodies that protect the free press and the Munich Charter(1)Like the Order of Physicians, they are made up of representatives of the Media Order, these large press groups, whose main function is to ensure their survival and to protect them from anything that could harm them. So you represent only yourselves and fear the truth.
I finish quoting your order: » The media in which the applicant participates do not present such a multilateral treatment of the subjects. The plaintiff uses his freedom of expression without giving voice to the theses opposed to his own. In particular, he expresses strong support for various actors in the social debate without putting this commitment into perspective. The choice of subjects, sources and interviewees is guided solely by his or her convictions « . In conclusion: » The media in which the applicant participates are intended to convince the public of the merits of a thesis, not to inform them in a multilateral way of the different positions present so that they can freely form their own opinion. The Commission systematically denies the title of professional journalist to people who contribute to publications whose objective is to relay the theses of any organization, and which do not offer the public a guarantee of independence in the choice of subjects, sources and approach to them « .
You only have to open a daily newspaper such as La Libre, Le Soir, La Dernière Heure, but also many periodicals, to understand that what you are reproaching us for is perfectly in line with their functioning. For example, » Guarantee of independence in the choice of subjects « , whereas the masters of censorship and self-censorship are to be found among the media that you represent, who send every 5 years their list of journalists whose accreditation is automatically renewed by you. What a tremendous dissonance.
As the Accreditation Commission itself states, one can be a journalist without a press card. Certainly. But it is particularly interesting to see to whom this Commission grants it and to whom it denies it. In this respect, a guarantee of freedom today would paradoxically be not to have any, unless one dissolves these bodies which are in no way a guarantee of press freedom, but whose existence, on the contrary, ensures that it will not happen.