From the Sydney Morning Herald:

F-word ban on French radio, TV

PARIS: How do you say Facebook and Twitter in French? You don’t – at least, not if you are on radio or television, where mention of them is banned unless they are specifically part of the story.

The internet sites have fallen foul of a 1992 decree that outlaws the promotion of private businesses on programs.

Journalists will no longer be able to end their reports by saying “Follow us on Twitter” or “Have a look at our Facebook page”, because the French government deems this as either blatant or subliminal promotion, and unfair to other similar networks. Instead, they should say, “Find us on social networks.”

Why this? Why now? On PRI’s The World, French journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet says the ban on “concealed advertising” comes partly because the French government broadcasting authority is a bunch of old-media fogies, partly because anti-American sentiment pervades French culture.

Whatever, it’s the damndest definition of stealth advertising you’ll ever encounter.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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