Interview of Xavier Azalbert: France-Soir & COVID-19

France Soir was founded by members of the French resistance in 1941, under the name Défense de la France, and changed name in 1944. It was a leading newspaper for decades. It then subsided, with declining readership, until its closure in 2011.

After a brief episode with a different owner, Xavier Azalbert decided to buy France Soir in 2016 and launch it as an online paper.

Our interview with Xavier Azalbert is about the COVID-19 pandemic as covered by France-Soir over the past 18 months or so.

The interview covers, inter-alia:

  • What is so different in the way France-Soir is run, with the involvement of citizen journalists and experts, rather than conventional journalists.
  • the position of France-Soir in the media landscape in France, vis-à-vis media such as Le Monde, Libération and Sud Radio.
  • With some 111,000 deaths attributed to C19 in France, what assessment can be made?
  • While showing much lower case fatality rates at IHU-Marseille, why wasn’t Professor Didier Raoult not listened to by the authorities?
  • Flashback: the Lancetgate and the lessons to draw from it.
  • What do general practitioners in France do today when there is a case of C19? Are there some that do off-label prescriptions? Legally speaking, are doctors allowed to prescribe early treatments for C19?
  • Regulatory capture: is it taking place in France?
  • What’s the role of the European Medications Agency and the WHO in all of this?
  • With less than a year to go to the next presidential election, will the response to C19 be one of the issues to be debated? Was there disagreement to the governmental response in the opposition?
  • Is there any chance that Macron might lose, despite his questionable handling of the pandemic?
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