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Le Monde diplomatique (nicknamed "Le Diplo" by its French readers) is a monthly publication offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs.Its articles are typically pieces of in depth and opinionated analysis .

First created mainly for a diplomatic audience, as its name implies, it has in recent years taken a critical view on the effects of economic capitalism on the world and its population.

Since the 1970s, its editorial line has become decidedly altermondialist and left-wing.Throughout the Cold War, it had a neutralist viewpoint, often critical of US foreign policy .

As of March 2008 the paper is headed by Serge Halimi.

The original French edition has a circulation of about 350,000; sixteen editions in other languages bring the total to about 1.4 million readers worldwide.


1954 : Formation

Le Monde diplomatique was founded in 1954 by Hubert Beuve-Méry, founder and director of Le Monde, the French newspaper of record.Subtitled the "organ of diplomatic circles and of large international organisations, " 5,000 copies were distributed, comprising eight pages, dedicated to foreign policy and geopolitics.

Its first editor in chief, François Honti, made the newspaper into a scholarly reference journal.Honti attentively followed the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement, created out of the 1955 Bandung Conference, and the issues of the "Third World".


Claude Julien became the newspaper's second editor in January 1973.At that time, the circulation of Le Monde diplomatique had jumped from 5,000 to 50,000 copies, and would reach, with Micheline Paulet, 120,000 in less than twenty years .

Without renouncing its "Third-worldism" position, it extended the treatment of its subjects, concentrating on international economic and monetary problems, strategic relations, the Middle-East conflict, etc.

Le Monde diplomatique took an independent stance, criticizing the neoliberal ideology and policies of the 1980s, represented by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Post Cold War

After the November, 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wallmarker and the 1990-1991 Gulf War, the newspaper made an important turn, and criticized the "American crusade" . Ignacio Ramonet was elected director in January 1991.Le Monde diplomatique analyzed the post-Cold War world, paying specific attention to "ethnic" conflicts – the wars in former Yugoslavia, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the conflicts in the Caucasus, etc. – as well as to the new information technology.

After having published a famous editorial in January 1995 where Ramonet coined the term "pensée unique" ("single thought") to describe the supremacy of the neoliberal ideology , the newspaper supported the November-December 1995 general strike in France against Prime minister Alain Juppé's (RPR) plan to cut pensions.

Three years later, after a proposal in a 1997 editorial by Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde diplomatique took a founding role in the creation of ATTAC, an alter-globalization NGO, which was originally founded for advocacy of the Tobin tax, and which has since spread throughout the world.


It now supports a variety of left-wing causes :

Newspaper also takes an important role in the organisation of the 2001 Porto Alegremarker World Social Forum.After the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Second Gulf War starting in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration, Le Monde diplomatique continues its position of criticizing the US policy of violent intervention in the Middle East and the neoconservative' project to reshape the so-called "Greater Middle East" region.

Jean-Marie Colombani, editor of the daily Le Monde, was attributed by Le Monde diplomatique's former director general Bernard Cassen as saying: "Le Monde diplomatique is a journal of opinion; Le Monde is a journal of opinions."

9/11 conspiracy theories

The Norwegian version of the July 2006 Le Monde diplomatique sparked interest when the editors ran, on their own initiative, a three page main story on the 9/11 attacks and summarized the various types of 9/11 conspiracy theories (which were not specifically endorsed by the newspaper, only reviewed) .

The Voltaire Network, which has somehow changed position since the September 11 attacks and whose director, Thierry Meyssan, became a leading proponent of 9/11 conspiracy theory, explained that although the Norwegian version of Le Monde diplomatique had allowed it to translate and publish this article on its website, the mother-house, in France, categorically refused it this right, thus displaying an open debate between various national editions .

In December 2006, the French version published an article by Alexander Cockburn, co-editor of CounterPunch, which strongly criticized the endorsement of conspiracy theories by the US left-wing, alleging that it was a sign of "theoretical emptiness."

The Norwegian Le Monde diplomatique, did again however mark its difference from the mother edition by allowing David Ray Griffin's response to Cockburn to be published in their March 2007 issue .

Le Monde diplomatique SA

The monthly became a subsidiary company of Le Monde SA in 1996, which grants its complete editorial autonomy from Le Monde. André Fontaine, the director of Le Monde, had already signed a 1989 convention with Claude Julien which guaranteed the monthly's autonomy, but it gained complete statutory, economic and financial independence in 1996 with the creation of Le Monde diplomatique SA. With a donation from Günter Holzmann, a German antifascist exiled before World War II to Bolivia, the monthly's employees acquired approximately one-quarter of the capital, while Les Amis du Monde diplomatique, a 1901 Law association of readers, bought another quarter. Thus, since the end of 2000, the newspaper's employees and readers retain 49% of Le Monde diplomatique SA's capital, largely above the control stock necessary to control the direction and editorial line of the Monde diplo. The remaining 51% is owned by Le Monde .

Distribution and advertising

As of 2007, the original French edition had a circulation of about 350,000. Worldwide there were seventy-one editions in twenty-six other languages (including thirty-eight in print for a total of about 2.2 million copies and thirty-three electronic editions).

Although Le Monde diplomatique publishes few advertisements in order to retain its editorial independence, it has sometimes been criticized for the quantity and nature of the published advertisements . In November and December 2003, two-page advertisements by IBM and a car manufacturer were placed. The issues of February and March 2004 contained advertisements by Microsoft in a "social" atmosphere with a picture of children, which led to agitation.

Rerouting of Air France 438

An Air France passenger jet flying directly from Parismarker to Mexico Citymarker on 18 April, 2009 was not allowed to fly over United Statesmarker territory and was rerouted to the Caribbeanmarker island of Martiniquemarker. The flight crew was informed that U.S. authorities did not allow Hernando Calvo Ospina, a Colombianmarker journalist traveling on an assignment for Le Monde diplomatique, to fly over U.S. airspace. The No Fly List maintained by the U.S. government does not allow people on it to even cross American airspace. In Mexico City, Calvo Ospina was briefly detained and questioned. He then proceeded to Nicaraguamarker for his assignment. A possible reason for the rerouting is Calvo Ospina's journalism, sharply critical of U.S. foreign policy. According to the flight crew, the rerouting was without precedent for Air France.


  1. « organe des cercles diplomatiques et des grandes organisations internationales »
  2. Numbers given in Le Monde diplomatique depuis 1954..., Les Amis du Monde diplomatique, 1901 law association, September 26, 2006
  3. La pensée unique, January 1995 editorial by Ignacio Ramonet in Le Monde diplomatique
  4. On the Attack, interview with Le Monde diplomatique 's former director general Bernard Cassen in The New Left Review n°19, January-February 2003
  5. 11.September - an innsidde jobb?, Norwegian edition of Le Monde diplomatique, July 2006. See also English translation: Kim Bredesen, Was 9/11 an inside job? and other links
  6. * Pour le Monde diplomatique norvégien, le 11 septembre est un complot intérieur US, Voltaire Network * El 11 de septiembre fue un complot interno estadounidense, estima la prensa noruega
  7. * Distractions from awful reality - US: the conspiracy that wasn’t, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 * Scepticisme ou occultisme? Le complot du 11-Septembre n’aura pas lieu, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 * Iranian translation * PODERES IMAGINÁRIOS - A "conspiração" das Torres Gêmeas
  8. Konspirasjonsteorien om 11. september
  9. minorité de blocage
  10. To check the latest figures, see * « International editions »
  11. * « Le Monde Diplomatique, publicitaire des multinationales ? » sur Acrimed
  12. Report of the rerouting of Air France 438, by Hernando Calvo Ospina.

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