Education, Politics

Guest post by tf

Daniel Schneidermann lost his job because he spoke out. Now his associate, Judith Bernard, has had a job offer withdrawn because she, too, spoke out.

Schneidermann is the host of Arrêt sur Images, the television show that analyzes television, shown every Sunday at 12:36pm on France 5. He was also a columnist for Le Monde before that newspaper fired him, in October 2003, for disloyalty. He had dared to criticize the publishers and editors of Le Monde in a book that he had written, Le cauchemar médiatique.

Bernard is a commentator for Arrêt sur Images, and is also a teacher in the French public school system. She was being recruited for a position overseeing theatrical programs (her area of expertise) for several schools. That recruitment process stopped when it was learned that she was blogging about her dealings with the academic bureaucracy.

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The arbitrators who examine workplace abuses, known as the prud’hommes, have ruled in favor of Schneidermann, saying that his firing was unjustified. Schnedermann is eloquent on Big Bang Blog in describing why a newspaper does not deserve the same duty of loyalty from its employees as do many other companies (my translation):

They sell information. And no, information is not merchandise like any other. Certainly, it is for sale. But it is a mission before it is merchandise.

This argument is even more true for education, and for employees in the public sector. But there is no sign that Bernard will have any recourse. Her account is also on Big Bang Blog, which is a group blog for Schneidermann, Benard, and another Arrêt sur Images associate.