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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 13:10 GMT
No more Popstars for French telly
French Star Academy 4 participants together on 22 January 2005 at the NRJ music awards in Cannes
Reality TV contestants may soon become "vedettes" rather than stars
English titles in French television programmes could soon be a thing of the past, following a recommendation by the country's broadcasting watchdog.

France's broadcasting authority (CSA) has called on television and radio stations to "try to use French in their programme titles".

Popular shows such as Star Academy and Popstars could be renamed to fall in line with the recommendation.

The CSA can impose a range of sanctions but does not plan to in this case.

The CSA (Conseil superieur de l'audiovisuel) calls on editors "to endeavour to use French in their programme titles", invoking a law that came into force in 1994.

"It is hard not to notice and, worse still, not to act in the face of the profusion of English or anglicised words on television and the radio," it says.

Its recommendation, published earlier this month, is intended to "set the record straight... without damaging freedom of expression, while at the same time trying to maintain the intelligibility of audiovisual communication and the identity of our culture".


Not everyone is convinced the ruling will have any effect, though.

La Star Academy - L'Ecole des vedettes
La Hit Machine - La Machine a succes
Popstars - Vedettes de varietes
Loft Story - Une histoire de local a usage commercial ou industriel amenage en local d'habitation (Liberation's translation)

Liberation newspaper - referring to "Ze Conseil superior of ze audiovisuel" and reporting that it is urging channels to "speak francais, plize" - wonders how wieldy titles will be.

Loft Story would become, according to the newspaper: Une histoire de local a usage commercial ou industriel amenage en local d'habitation.

Indeed, France's main channel TF1 says it has no plans to change the title of its flagship programme Star Academy - the equivalent of the BBC's Fame Academy - which just finished a fourth run before Christmas and is due to resume in September this year.

The CSA has a range of sanctions available, including revoking a broadcaster's licence to operate, imposing fines and taking a broadcaster to court.

However, it says that in this case, it does not have any plans to do so.

"I don't see any sanctions being imposed in this case. A reminder letter is more likely," a CSA spokeswoman told the BBC News website.

Protecting French

Created in 1989, the CSA is responsible among other things for protecting and regulating the use of French on television and radio.

Although the recommendation on programme names mainly affects private television channels, the CSA also regulates the use of French on public channels.

On one recent occasion, the CSA asked French public channel France 3 to refrain from using the slang word for policemen ("keufs") in a news bulletin.

It also polices the use of quotas on French radio which requires stations to play at least 40% of songs in French.

Outcry over English lessons
22 Oct 04 |  Education
Paris wakes up to English radio
13 May 04 |  Europe
French watchdog cuts Loft Story
15 May 01 |  Entertainment

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