huffington post names strausskahn\s wife as french site editor
Last Updated : GMT 08:07:15
Arab Today, arab today
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Huffington Post names Strauss-Kahn\'s wife as French site editor

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Huffington Post names Strauss-Kahn\'s wife as French site editor

Paris- Arabstoday

The launch of a French edition of the Huffington Post has been marred by controversy over its choice of editorial director, Anne Sinclair: the one-time TV journalist who is married to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF. Sinclair, who was a star TV political interviewer in the 1980s, is to head Le Huffington Post, the first foreign-language spin-off of the US news and opinion site, which goes live next week. But some in the French media have raised questions over a possible conflict of interest. Strauss-Kahn was widely tipped to become the next French president before his arrest last May over the alleged attempted rape of a New York hotel maid. Criminal charges were dropped but a civil case is pending. The saga destroyed Strauss-Kahn's IMF career and ended his presidential hopes. Strauss-Kahn still dominates headlines in France because his name has been linked to a high-profile investigation into an alleged prostitution-ring centred on a luxury hotel in Lille. He has yet to be interviewed by investigating judges in what is known as the "Hotel Carlton affair". Strauss-Kahn has started a gradual process to return to public life with a recent speaking engagement in China. Some question how a site run by Sinclair, who has stood firmly by her husband, would cover the issue of Strauss-Kahn in the news. The couple recently sued several French media outlets over reports speculating on the state of their marriage after the Hotel Carlton affair. The respected media blog of the news weekly L'Express, quoting an unnamed editor at Le Monde, said: "Anne Sinclair is no longer a journalist. Since she publically compared the DSK affair to the Dreyfus affair she's an interested party." The French Jewish soldier Alfred Dreyfus's false conviction for treason divided 19th-century France. Pierre Haski, founder of Rue89.com , one of France's leading news websites, told the Guardian: "The choice of Anne Sinclair divides opinion. On one hand, the site wanted a big personality who could be a kind of standard-bearer. On the other, this is someone who is at the heart of one of the big affairs in French news at the moment. If Le Monde publishes a big investigation into Strauss-Kahn and the Carlton Affair, as it did recently, will this be referenced on the Huffington Post site? Will the site run comment on Strauss-Kahn's comeback efforts? Even though Sinclair is a totally legitimate journalist, this is a conflict of interest issue." The French Huffington Post is a joint venture, with a 34% stake held by the group which owns the French daily, Le Monde. But staff at the paper protested at Le Huffington Post's planned prominent use of Le Monde's logo, namely its strapline "Le Huffington Post with Le Monde.fr". Some journalists warned that the paper's editorial independence could appear compromised. Le Monde executives held emergency talks with journalists' representatives this week and agreed to clarify the relationship. "This is an economic partnership, not an editorial partnership, we wanted that made clear. Anne Sinclair will be running her own totally separate editorial team," said Adrien de Tricornot, a journalists' representative from Le Monde's Société des Rédacteurs. Sinclair was a regular fixture of Sunday evening French TV in the 1980s, drawing millions of viewers with her interviews with politicians and celebrities. After marrying Strauss-Kahn, she gave up her job as a television journalist when he became finance minister in 1997. "I'm neither a saint nor a victim, I'm a free woman," Sinclair told French Elle on Wednesday. Asked whether it was possible to be feminist and still give unconditional support to her husband, she said: "Unconditional support doesn't exist. One only supports someone if one decides to. No one knows what goes on in the intimacy of a couple and I refuse anyone the right to judge mine. I feel free in my judgments and actions, I make life decisions in all independence." Some French media reports pointed out that the PR for the Huffington Post launch was being run by Strauss-Kahn's chief press adviser, who works for the publicity firm, Euro RSCG. The Huffington Post, which is owned by AOL, will not step into a void in France but take over from Le Monde's participative blogging site, Le Post, which has around 2m visitors per month. However, the news website market in France is intensely competitive, with highly innovative news and investigative journalism pure-player sites springing up in the past five years to counter a weak and diminishing French press. "It's a competitive market. People have been doing blog platforms and aggregation for years now. I'm not sure the Huffington Post is bringing anything new to the French media landscape," said Haski, whose site Rue89 was recently bought by the Nouvel Observateur group for €7.5m (£6.2m).   theguardian .

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