What’s the problem with French newspapers getting hundreds of millions in state handouts?

French newspapers and magazines continue to be handed hundreds of millions of euros in state subsidies each year, despite being owned by billionaires. This largesse is supposed to boost democracy, but its critics argue that it leads to a submissive media, writes Rory Mulholland.

There are few issues on which France’s far-right Front National agrees with the radical left-wing journalist Edwy Plenel – former editor of Le Monde and current boss of the crusading investigative website Mediapart.

But one is the question of the enormous amount of money – sometimes topping the billion-euro mark – the French state hands out every year to the country’s newspapers and magazines.

Both the Front National and Plenel staunchly oppose these subsidies, and both have campaigned for them to be stopped.