Le Monde diplomatique

Le Monde diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique
Type Monthly newspaper
Format Berliner
Owner La Vie-Le Monde
Publisher Maurice Lemoine
Editor Serge Halimi
Founded 1954
Political alignment Alter-globalization, Left
Language French, translated editions in English and 25 other languages
Headquarters France
Circulation 121,499 (2011)[1]
Official website http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/

Le Monde diplomatique (nicknamed Le Diplo by its French readers) is a monthly newspaper offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first created mainly for a diplomatic audience as its name implies. It had a non-aligned, Third-worldist viewpoint throughout the Cold War, and practices nowadays advocacy journalism in taking an editorial stance based on alter-globalization.

The publication is owned by Le Monde diplomatique SA, a subsidiary company of Le Monde which grants its complete editorial autonomy from it. Worldwide there were seventy-one editions in twenty-six other languages (including thirty-eight in print for a total of about 2.2 million copies and thirty-three electronic editions).[2]

As of March 2008, the paper is headed by Serge Halimi.




Le Monde diplomatique was founded in 1954 by Hubert Beuve-Méry, founder and director of Le Monde, the French newspaper of record. Subtitled the "organ of diplomatic circles and of large international organisations,[3]" 5,000 copies were distributed, comprising eight pages, dedicated to foreign policy and geopolitics. Its first editor in chief, François Honti, made the newspaper into a scholarly reference journal. Honti attentively followed the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement, created out of the 1955 Bandung Conference, and the issues of the "Third World".

Claude Julien became the newspaper's second editor in January 1973. At that time, the circulation of Le Monde diplomatique had jumped from 5,000 to 50,000 copies, and would reach, with Micheline Paulet, 120,000 in less than twenty years.[4] Without renouncing its "Third-worldism" position, it extended the treatment of its subjects, concentrating on international economic and monetary problems, strategic relations, the Middle-East conflict, etc.

Le Monde diplomatique took an independent stance, criticizing the neoliberal ideology and policies of the 1980s, represented by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Post Cold War

After the November, 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1990-1991 Gulf War, the newspaper made an important turn, and criticized the "American crusade".[4] Ignacio Ramonet was elected director in January 1991. Le Monde diplomatique analyzed the post-Cold War world, paying specific attention to "ethnic" conflicts – the wars in former Yugoslavia, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the conflicts in the Caucasus, etc. – as well as to the new information technology.

After having published a famous editorial in January 1995 where Ramonet coined the term "pensée unique" ("single thought") to describe the supremacy of the neoliberal ideology,[5] the newspaper supported the November–December 1995 general strike in France against Prime minister Alain Juppé's (RPR) plan to cut pensions.

Three years later, after a proposal in a 1997 editorial by Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde diplomatique took a founding role in the creation of ATTAC, an alter-globalization NGO, which was originally founded for advocacy of the Tobin tax, and which has since spread throughout the world. It now supports a variety of left-wing causes. The newspaper also took an important role in the organisation of the 2001 Porto Alegre World Social Forum.

After the Second Gulf War starting in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration, Le Monde diplomatique continues its position of criticizing the US policy of "violent intervention" in the Middle East and the neoconservative' project to "reshape" the so-called "Greater Middle East" region.

Le Monde diplomatique SA

André Fontaine, the director of Le Monde, signed a 1989 convention with Claude Julien which guaranteed the monthly's autonomy. But it gained complete statutory, economic and financial independence in 1996 with the creation of Le Monde diplomatique SA. With a donation from Günter Holzmann, a German antifascist exiled before World War II to Bolivia, the monthly's employees acquired approximately one-quarter of the capital, while Les Amis du Monde diplomatique, a 1901 Law association of readers, bought another quarter.

Thus, since the end of 2000, the newspaper's employees and readers retain 49% of Le Monde diplomatique SA's capital, largely above the control stock [6] necessary to control the direction and editorial line of the Monde diplo. The remaining 51% is owned by Le Monde.[4]



Jean-Marie Colombani, former editor of the daily Le Monde, was attributed by Le Monde diplomatique's former director general Bernard Cassen as saying: "Le Monde diplomatique is a journal of opinion; Le Monde is a journal of opinions." [7]

9/11 conspiracy theories

The Norwegian version of the July 2006 Le Monde diplomatique sparked interest when the editors ran, on their own initiative, a three page main story on the September 11, 2001 attacks and summarized the various types of 9/11 conspiracy theories (which were not specifically endorsed by the newspaper, only reviewed).[8]

The Voltaire Network, which has somehow changed position since the September 11 attacks and whose director, Thierry Meyssan, became a leading proponent of 9/11 conspiracy theory, explained that although the Norwegian version of Le Monde diplomatique had allowed it to translate and publish this article on its website, the mother-house, in France, categorically refused it this right, thus displaying an open debate between various national editions.[9]

In December 2006, the French version published an article by Alexander Cockburn, co-editor of CounterPunch, which strongly criticized the endorsement of conspiracy theories by the US left-wing, alleging that it was a sign of "theoretical emptiness." [10] The Norwegian Le Monde diplomatique, did again however mark its difference from the mother edition by allowing David Ray Griffin's response to Cockburn to be published in their March 2007 issue.[11]


Although Le Monde diplomatique publishes few advertisements in order to retain its editorial independence, it has sometimes been criticized for the quantity and nature of the published advertisements[citation needed]. In November and December 2003, two-page advertisements by IBM and a car manufacturer were placed. The issues of February and March 2004 contained advertisements by Microsoft in a "social" atmosphere with a picture of children, which led to agitation.[12]

Rerouting of Air France 438

An Air France passenger jet flying directly from Paris to Mexico City on 18 April 2009 was not allowed to fly over United States territory and was rerouted to the Caribbean island of Martinique. The flight crew was informed that U.S. authorities did not allow Hernando Calvo Ospina, a Colombian journalist traveling on an assignment for Le Monde diplomatique, to fly over U.S. airspace. The No Fly List maintained by the U.S. government does not allow people on it to even cross U.S. airspace.

In Mexico City, Calvo Ospina was briefly detained and questioned. He then proceeded to Nicaragua for his assignment. A possible reason for the rerouting is Calvo Ospina's journalism, sharply critical of U.S. foreign policy. According to the flight crew, the rerouting was without precedent for Air France.[13]


  1. ^ Bureau Presse Payante Grand Public. OJD
  2. ^ To check the latest figures, see * (French) « International editions »
  3. ^ « organe des cercles diplomatiques et des grandes organisations internationales »
  4. ^ a b c Numbers given in Le Monde diplomatique depuis 1954..., Les Amis du Monde diplomatique, 1901 law association, September 26, 2006 (French)
  5. ^ La pensée unique, January 1995 editorial by Ignacio Ramonet in Le Monde diplomatique (French)
  6. ^ minorité de blocage
  7. ^ On the Attack, interview with Le Monde diplomatique 's former director general Bernard Cassen in The New Left Review n°19, January–February 2003 (English)
  8. ^ 11.September - an innsidde jobb?, Norwegian edition of Le Monde diplomatique, July 2006. See also English translation: Kim Bredesen, Was 9/11 an inside job? and other links
  9. ^ * (French) Pour le Monde diplomatique norvégien, le 11 septembre est un complot intérieur US, Voltaire Network * (Spanish) El 11 de septiembre fue un complot interno estadounidense, estima la prensa noruega
  10. ^ *(English) Distractions from awful reality - US: the conspiracy that wasn’t, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 *(French)Scepticisme ou occultisme? Le complot du 11-Septembre n’aura pas lieu, by Alexander Cockburn in Le Monde diplomatique, December 2006 *(Persian) Iranian translation *(Portuguese) PODERES IMAGINÁRIOS - A "conspiração" das Torres Gêmeas
  11. ^ Konspirasjonsteorien om 11. september
  12. ^ * (French) « Le Monde Diplomatique, publicitaire des multinationales ? » sur Acrimed
  13. ^ Report of the rerouting of Air France 438, by Hernando Calvo Ospina.

External links

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