The news should quickly shake up the programming of CNews. The Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) asks the audiovisual media to “count”, from Thursday, “the interventions” of the flagship polemicist of the continuous news channel, Eric Zemmour, “relating to the national political debate “, In a decision made public Wednesday.

If the polemicist is not yet officially a candidate for the presidential election, the CSA considered that “in view of recent developments”, the columnist “could be looked at from now on, both by his positions and his actions, as by the comments to which they give rise, as an actor in the national political debate ”. However, “the provisions of the law of September 30, 1986 provide for the taking into account of interventions by political figures”, recalls the CSA, whose college met in plenary on Wednesday.

A decision that caused a reaction within his camp. “In law, we cannot consider a potential candidate as a candidate. If he’s still hesitating, he’s not a candidate! Where is the legal basis? It is a decision based on presumption and rumor “, deplores a Parisian close to the polemicist.

Eric Zemmour’s speaking time is counted as “various right” by the audiovisual gendarme. The Canal news channel made the polemicist the figurehead of “Face à l’Info”, a daily program that airs Monday through Friday and attracts some 700,000 viewers. But the pay-TV channel Paris Première should also be shaken up, as the essayist appears on its antenna, in a two-hour program with Eric Naulleau.

The CSA’s decision comes as polemicist Eric Zemmour, released on appeal Wednesday for anti-Islam and anti-immigration comments made in 2019, seems to be getting closer day after day to a 2022 presidential candidacy.

In an interview given last June on France Inter, LREM MEP Stéphane Séjourné already wondered whether the polemicist’s speaking time should be counted down when he speaks on CNews in that of a political party. Asked about this question last January in Le Figaro, the president of the CSA, Roch-Olivier Maistre was less categorical, considering only that the “primary mission” of the CSA “as a regulator, was to guarantee the freedom of expression and editorial freedom of the media ”.