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Le Monde ( ) is a Frenchmarker daily evening newspaper with a circulation of 371,803. It is considered the French newspaper of record, and is generally well respected, often the only French newspaper easily obtainable in non-Francophone countries.

The newspaper 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—founded by Hubert Beuve-Méry at the request of General Charles de Gaulle after the German army was driven from Parismarker during World War II—took over the format of Le Temps, whose reputation had suffered during the Occupation. Beuve-Méry reportedly demanded total editorial independence as the condition for his taking on the project. Its first edition appeared on December 19, 1944. Le Monde has been available on the Internet since December 19, 1995. It is the principal publication of Groupe Le Monde.

Its current board chairman and director of publication is Éric Fottorino and the current chief editor (rédacteur en chef) is Gérard Courtois. Plantu is one of several political cartoonists who contribute to the paper, and his work is often featured on the front page above the fold.


Le Monde was often described in the past as centre-left, but its editorial line may be more appropriately described nowadays as simply centrist. In 1981 it backed the election of Socialistmarker François Mitterrand on the grounds that alternation of the political party in government would be beneficial to the country.

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 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 cover "all the news that's fit to print" (the motto of The New York Times) than to offer thoughtful interpretation of current events. Writers of lead reporting articles did not hesitate to provide commentary or venture predictions. In recent years, however, the paper has established a greater distinction between fact and opinion.

Controversies and politics

Michel Legris wrote in 1976 "Le monde tel qu'il est". According to this former journalist of "Le Monde", the journal minimized the atrocities committed by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.

In their 2003 book entitled 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, and the sinking of a Greenpeace boat, the Rainbow Warriormarker, by French intelligence under President François Mitterrand). In one chapter, the authors of the book accused Colombani and Plenel of "xenophilia" and of "not liking France". 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.

Le Monde has been found guilty of defamation for saying that Catalan soccer club FC Barcelona was connected to a doctor involved in steroid use. The court fined the newspaper nearly $450,000 and the French newspaper will have to publish a copy of the court's sentence in both its newspaper and online versions.

Recent circulation history

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Circulation 405,983 407,085 389,249 371,803 360,610 350,039 320,583

Publication schedule

Le Monde is published around midday, and the date on the masthead is the following day's. That is, the issue which is released at midday on 15 March shows 16 March on the masthead. It is available on newsstands in Paris and some other parts of France on the day of release, and received by mail subscribers on the masthead date.

Famous investigations

Among Le Monde famous investigations are the one concerning the sinking of the Rainbow Warriormarker. In 1995, on the 10th anniversary of this failed secret operation, the newspaper directly implicated François Mitterrand, who was president at the time, in the operation.

Headquarters building

In December 2006, on the 60th anniversary of its publishing début, the journal moved into new headquarters at n°80, Boulevard Auguste-Blanquimarker.

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 pigeons (drawn by Plantu) flying towards Victor Hugo, symbolising freedom of the press.Image:Bd Blanqui-Le Monde.JPG|Overhead section of métro line 6 in front of the headquarters buildingimage:Bd Blanqui-Le Monde-1.JPG|An angle of the 'Le Monde' buildingimage:Bd Blanqui-Le Monde-2.JPG|An angle of the 'Le Monde' buildingimage:Bd Blanqui-Le Monde-3.JPG|An angle of the 'Le Monde' building


See also


  1. "Barcelona wins lawsuit against French newspaper Le Monde", Associated Press/USA Today 2008-01-15

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