Le Monde

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Le Monde
Le Monde.svg
Une Le Monde.jpg
First issue on 19 December 1944
TypeDaily newspaper
Format Berliner [1]
Owner(s)Groupe Le Monde
PublisherLouis Dreyfus
Editor Jérôme Fenoglio
Staff writers165
Founded1944;76 years ago (1944)
Political alignment Social liberalism
Social democracy
Headquarters80 bd Auguste-Blanqui,
F-75707 Paris Cedex 13
Circulation 302,624 (Print, 2018)
160,000 (Digital, 2018) [2]
ISSN 1950-6244
Website LeMonde.fr

Le Monde (French pronunciation:  [lə mɔ̃d] ; English: The World) is a French daily afternoon newspaper. It is the main publication of Le Monde Group and reported an average circulation of 323,039 copies per issue in 2009, about 40,000 of which were sold abroad. It has had its own website since 19 December 1995, and is often the only French newspaper easily obtainable in non-French-speaking countries. It is considered one of the French newspapers of record, along with Libération , and Le Figaro . It should not be confused with the monthly publication Le Monde diplomatique , of which Le Monde has 51% ownership, but which is editorially independent.


Le Monde was founded by Hubert Beuve-Méry at the request of Charles de Gaulle (as Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic) on 19 December 1944, shortly after the Liberation of Paris, and published continuously since its first edition.

The paper's journalistic side has a collegial form of organization, in which most journalists are not only tenured, but financial stakeholders in the enterprise as well, and participate in the elections of upper management and senior executives. In the 1990s and 2000s, La Vie-Le Monde Group expanded under editor Jean-Marie Colombani with a number of acquisitions. However, its profitability was not sufficient to cover the large debt loads it took on to fund this expansion, and it sought new investors in 2010 to keep the company out of bankruptcy. In June 2010, investors Matthieu Pigasse, Pierre Bergé, and Xavier Niel acquired a controlling stake in the newspaper. [3]

In contrast to other world newspapers such as The New York Times , Le Monde was traditionally focused on offering analysis and opinion, as opposed to being a newspaper of record. Hence, it was considered less important for the paper to offer maximum coverage of the news than to offer thoughtful interpretation of current events. For instance, on the 10th anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, the newspaper directly implicated François Mitterrand, who was the French president at the time, in the operation. In recent years the paper has established a greater distinction between fact and opinion. [4]

Editorial stance

Le Monde was founded in 1944 [5] [6] at the request of General Charles de Gaulle after the German army was driven from Paris during World War II, and took over the headquarters and layout of Le Temps , which was the most important newspaper in France before but whose reputation had suffered during the Occupation. [7] Beuve-Méry reportedly demanded total editorial independence as the condition for his taking on the project.

In 1981 it backed the election of socialist François Mitterrand, in part on the grounds that the alternation of the political party in government would be beneficial to the democratic character of the state. [8] The paper endorsed centre-right candidate Édouard Balladur in the 1995 presidential election, and Ségolène Royal, the Socialist Party candidate, in the 2007 presidential election.

Controversies and politics

According to the Mitrokhin Archive investigators, Le Monde (KGB codename VESTNIK, "messenger") was the KGB's key outlet for Soviet disinformation in the French media. The archive identified two senior Le Monde journalists and several contributors who were used in the operations (see also the article on Russian influence operations in France). [9]

Michel Legris, a former journalist with the paper, wrote Le Monde tel qu'il est (Le Monde as it is) in 1976. According to him, the journal minimized the atrocities committed by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.

In their 2003 book titled La Face cachée du Monde (The Hidden face of "Le Monde"), authors Pierre Péan and Philippe Cohen alleged that Colombani and then-editor Edwy Plenel had shown, amongst other things, partisan bias and had engaged in financial dealings that compromised the paper's independence. It also accused the paper of dangerously damaging the authority of the French state by having revealed various political scandals (notably corruption scandals surrounding Jacques Chirac, the "Irish of Vincennes" affair, and the sinking of a Greenpeace boat, the Rainbow Warrior , by French intelligence under President François Mitterrand). This book remains controversial, but attracted much attention and media coverage in France and around the world at the time of its publication. Following a lawsuit, the authors and the publisher agreed in 2004 not to proceed to any reprinting.[ citation needed ]

Le Monde has been found guilty of defamation for saying that Spanish football club FC Barcelona was connected to a doctor involved in steroid use. The Spanish court fined the newspaper nearly $450,000. [10]

In April 2016, a Le Monde reporter was denied a visa to visit Algeria as part of the French Prime Minister press convoy to Algeria. Le Monde had previously published names of Algerian officials directly involved with the Panama papers corruption scandal.[ citation needed ]


In June 2010, investors Matthieu Pigasse, Pierre Bergé, and Xavier Niel acquired a controlling stake in the newspaper. [3] In October 2018, staff learned that Pigasse had sold 49% of his stake in the company to Czech businessman Daniel Křetínský. Le Monde's Independency Group, a minority shareholder that aims to protect the paper's editorial independence, had not been informed of the sale, and asked Pigasse and Křetínský to sign an "approval agreement" that would give the Independency Group the right to approve or reject any controlling shareholder. As of September 2019, they had not done so. [11] [12]

Recent circulation history

Total circulation390,840392,772405,983407,085389,249371,803360,610350,039358,655340,131323,039319,022325,295318,236303,432298,529292,054289,555301,528302,624

Publication schedule

Le Monde is published around midday, and the date on the masthead is the following day's. For instance, the issue released at midday on 15 March shows 16 March on the masthead. It is available on newsstands in France on the day of release, and received by mail subscribers on the masthead date. The Saturday issue is a double one, for Saturday and Sunday.

Thus the latest edition can be found on newsstands from Monday to Friday included, while subscribers will receive it from Tuesday to Saturday included.


In December 2006, on the 60th anniversary of its publishing début,[ citation needed ]Le Monde moved into new headquarters in Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui, 13th arrondissement of Paris. [13]

The building—formerly the headquarters of Air France—was refashioned by Bouygues from the designs of Christian de Portzamparc. The building's façade has an enormous fresco adorned by doves (drawn by Plantu) flying towards Victor Hugo, symbolising freedom of the press.

It will move into a new headquarters, also in the 13th arrondissement, around 2017. It will have space for 1,200 people. [14]


Le Monde was among the first French newspapers on the web, with its first web edition on 19 December 1995. [15]

les Blogs LeMonde.fr

Starting in the 2000s Le Monde allowed its subscribers to publish a blog on its website. These blogs were called the “les blogs abonnées du Monde.fr”. On 10 April 2019, Le Monde announced that it would be closing its blog platform on 5 June 2019. [16] [17] Although the reasons for the closing of the blogs were unclear, it could be linked to the dominance of social networks like Facebook. [18]


See also

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  1. "The Berliner format". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. "Circulation of Le Monde worldwide from 1999 to 2018". statista.com. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  3. 1 2 Willsher, Kim (28 June 2010). "Tycoons given go-ahead for financial takeover of Le Monde". The Guardian.
  4. "Portrait d'un quotidien" [Portrait of a daily](PDF). Le Monde (in French). June 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2012.
  5. "The press in France". BBC. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  6. "Historical development of the media in France" (PDF). McGraw-Hill Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. Clyde Thogmartin (1998). "The Golden Age and the War Years". The National Daily Press of France. Summa Publications, Inc. p. 113. ISBN   1-883479-20-7.
  8. Benson, Rodney (Spring 2004). "La fin du Monde? Tradition and Change in the French press" (PDF). French Politics, Culture & Society . Vol. 22 no. 1. pp. 108–126 [p. 111, and footnote 13, pp. 123–124]. Retrieved 31 January 2019 via New York University faculty page.
  9. Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin: The Mitrokhin Archive. The KGB in Europe and the West. London, Penguin Books 2000, ISBN   978-0-14-028487-4, p. 613.
  10. "Barcelona wins lawsuit against French newspaper Le Monde". usatoday.com. USA Today. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  11. Willsher, Kim (10 September 2019). "Le Monde journalists warn of threat to editorial independence". The Guardian . Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  12. "" We, "Le Monde" journalists... "". Le Monde. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  13. "Mentions légales". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 5 July 2016. Editeur SOCIETE ÉDITRICE DU MONDE [...] Dont le siège social est situé 80, boulevard Auguste-Blanqui – 75707 Paris cedex 13
  14. "Un nouveau siège social pour le journal "Le Monde" en 2017". L'Éxpress (in French). Agence France Presse. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  15. Claire Hemery, "Quand la presse française s'emparait du web", La revue des médias, Institut national de l'audiovisuel, 19 December 2013
  16. "La fin annoncée des blogs abonnées du Monde.fr, la fin du blog paysages sur les blogs leMonde.fr" (in French). Blogs le Monde on LeMonde.fr. 14 April 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  17. "LE MONDE supprime tous les blogs qu'il héberge" (in French). Blogs le Monde on LeMonde.fr. 14 April 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  18. "La fin du blog paysages sur les blogs LeMonde.fr – Das Ende des Blog " paysages " auf den Blogs von Le Monde.fr" (in French and German). Blogs le Monde on LeMonde.fr. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

Further reading