France Télévisions news chief resigns as crisis envelops broadcaster

France Télévisions director of news Michel Field has resigned amid a crisis enveloping the French public broadcaster.

Field’s departure comes amid protests by the pubcaster’s editorial team against the decision by France Télévisions to replace David Pujadas, the long-term presenter of the flagship 20:00 evening news show, with Anne-Sophie Lapix, formerly presenter of a show on France 5.

The broadcaster’s journalists sharply criticised Field for writing a column in the daily Libération in which he criticised aspects of the broadcaster’s conduct during the recent presidential election.

The broadcaster’s journalists have also separately criticised director-general, Delphine Ernotte, who had earlier told Le Parisien that the time was right to give the news show a makeover and denied there was any political motivation for the change.

France Télévisions’ journalists have also criticized Ernotte for publicly giving a kiss on the cheek to President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte just ahead of the presidential debate between Macron and Front National leader Marine Le Pen, before the second round of the presidential election.

The image of Ernotte kissing Brigitte Macron was widely circulated by the Front National as evidence of complicity between the public broadcaster and the Macron campaign.

Field was appointed by Ernotte to head up the broadcaster’s news service in 2015. He was heavily involved in the director-general’s pet project, the launch of multimedia news service France Info.