France Turns Its Cheek To Digital Revolution

Do you associate France with high culture? It’s clear that the French government does, as officials are reportedly fighting the “online revolution” to preserve their nation’s reputation.

The minister of culture in France, Aurelie Filippetti, has accused online giants, including Amazon, of damaging the nation’s culture.

“Today, everyone has had enough of Amazon, which, by dumping, slashes prices to get a foothold in markets only to raise them once they have a virtual monopoly,” Filippetti told the Financial Times.

The minister argued that the Internet is responsible for undercutting the country’s bookshops, music industry and overall quality of life.

This argument seems a bit ironic coming form the country that is recognized for introducing the first proto-Internet, Minitel.

France is also credited for giving birth to cinema and is home to the world-renowned Louvre. The country is proud of its high literacy rate and long list of classic novels written by French authors.

The French have been known to be highly protective of their cultural identity. Back in 1993 when the English language and western culture was spreading across European music and films, the French introduced a policy called, “L’exception Culturelle.” The policy was created in order to preserve French culture from market penetration and foreign competition.

Filippetti is repelling the digital innovations as she accused Amazon of threatening traditional bookshops. The culture minister said she would be looking more closely into measures that could curb the growth of Amazon.

The Daily Mail reported that one of these measures could be hindering Amazon from offering a combination of free deliveries and marked-down books to customers.

The growing concern to uphold French culture has even pushed the government to announce potential plans of implementing a 1 percent tax levy on smartphone and tablet sales. The tax collected would go towards funding the country’s culture.

There has also been discussion of amending the existing French telecom levies that support filmmaking. Telecom operators may be forced to pay higher taxes based on yearly revenues.

To read the article at Financial Times click here or to read the article at The Daily Mail click here.


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