French newspaper Le Monde announced that it had removed a column from its website about French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Algeria because it “had an error that led to misinterpretation”, accusing it of imposing censorship.
The French President visited Algeria in late August after a months-long diplomatic crisis over a memory dispute between the two countries. On this occasion, Macron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmajid Tebboun formally signed a document that “reaffirmed their commitment to register their relationship in a dynamic of irreversible progress” sixty years after the end of the Algerian war.
Following that visit, an op-ed written by researcher Paul Max Moran titled “Reducing Colonialism in Algeria with a Love Story” was published on Thursday morning, which complements Macron’s right-wing stance on memory. .”
And the evening edition of the newspaper in the first clarification wrote that “the sentence “the love story was not without tragedy,” which Macron said at a press conference, and if it can be subject to various interpretations, then it was not specifically about colonialism, as mentioned in the column , but rather about French-Algerian relations.
Le Monde added that it “apologises to its readers and also to the President of the Republic.”
The clarification drew sharp criticism, with France Proud (radical left) leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeting: “They closed the column because of a quote about Macron that he didn’t like! A new phase in the collapse of journalism that has been referenced in the past.”
For his part, journalist Edwy Plenell, founder of the Mediapart group, tweeted that Le Monde “makes its ‘apologies’ to the President of the Republic”, calling it “terrible censorship”.
As for columnist Paul Max Moran, he commented in statements to the Liberation newspaper that “the removal of the text is an unnatural and incomprehensible act.”
Following this criticism, Le Monde published a more detailed explanation on its website on Friday afternoon.
“The pages of (Zawya) Diba and Mond are intended to collect analyzes and points of view, including controversial ones. We cannot afford to publish texts containing factual errors,” she said.
In response to a question about the apology contained in the first clarification, Le Monde director Jérôme Vinoliot told AFP: “When we make mistakes that we have made, it is natural for us to apologize to people for whom it might be harmful, starting with our readers.”
Macron’s statements were published by the newspaper in October 2021, in which he accused the Algerian “military-political” regime of maintaining the “memorial lease”, which led to a crisis between Algiers and Paris.