Paris, December, 15th, 2017 (SIGNIS). One of the most populated countries in Europe, France has a strong Catholic tradition, as evidenced by its urban architecture and the names of its many villages that evoke that of a Saint. If today the number of practitioners is in constant decline, the importance of Catholic media is always visible.
Since the SIGNIS World Congress in Quebec in June 2017, the Federation of Catholic Media has become the only representative of SIGNIS in France. This federation brings together all the Catholic media in the country, from major Christian press groups to weekly parish papers. Founded in 1873, the Bayard Presse group has always been the reference for Christian readers and has innovated in the press for young audiences. Today, the newspaper La Croix is one of the only daily newspaper to win readership in France and the magazine La Vie also displays a good health.
On the radio side, the 64 RCF stations, French-speaking Christian radios, cover practically all the territory (including Belgium) and offer varied and general programmes, as well as a permanent training for its employees and numerous volunteers. The first televised mass in France took place for Christmas 1948 and still exists on a public channel with the program Le Jour du Seigneur. The private Catholic television channel, KTO, was founded in 1999 and has recently achieved its financial equilibrium. It spreads more and more internationally.
Following Bishop Giraud who opened a Twitter account in January 2011, many bishops, priests, religious and dioceses are very active in social networks, often with a lot of humour and a very original tone that dusts the traditional image of "Catholics".
Present since 1974 at the Cannes Film Festival, the ecumenical jury is recognized by film professionals for the excellence of its prize list. With the enthusiasm of Christians for the cinema, many events have emerged, on the initiative of dioceses or parishes. Presenting a Christian look on works of the 7th art, there are about fifteen events across France to present films followed by debates, such as the Christian Film Festival of Montpellier which will present its 21st edition in January 2018. There is also a SIGNIS international jury at the Latin American Film Meetings in Toulouse and at the Lumières d'Afrique Festival in Besançon.
France is also a country where Protestant and Jewish communities are very active and where Islam became the second religion in the second half of the 20th century. This allows Catholic communities and media to open up to the interfaith and enrich themselves through a respectful dialogue among believers.