Living conditions can only be improved in a country when reliable, independent, verified information is guaranteed. This is the spirit in which CFI's mandate was conceived.
From "Canal France International" to "CFI Développement Médias"
Canal France International (CFI) was created in 1989 by the French Ministry of Cooperation to ensure the free broadcasting of television programmes in French-speaking Africa.
Over the years, CFI’s role has gradually evolved into that of a programme database, a television channel (CFI-TV) and then a satellite television operator.
In 2010, the Government gave it a unique mandate: to act as a media support agency.
A public media support agency
CFI's role falls within the French policy on solidarity-based development and pushing back against global inequality.
This policy is a core facet of France's foreign policy. It aims to eradicate poverty and combat inequality, food insecurity and malnutrition. It helps to foster better education and better health for all. It works to promote human rights and in particular children's rights and the rights of French-speakers, and it also supports the strengthening of the rule of law and democracy. Lastly, it ensures the protection of the world's public assets, especially the protection of the planet.
Through this policy, France is committed to promoting freedom of expression, belief and information. It also contributes to the enhancement of free, independent media and the consolidation of civil society in countries in which misinformation among the public actively contributes to instability.
Recognised expertise in media support
Since the adoption of the United Nations’ Windhoek Declaration in 1991, information has been recognised as an essential global public asset that helps to improve people’ living conditions. Promoting inclusion, raising awareness of climate disruption, fighting pandemics, encouraging citizen engagement: these are all subjects on which the media has a tangible impact.
As a means of circulating information, the media are a valuable forum of expression that involves all citizens and sparks democratic debate.
However, media outlets also sometimes have shaky business models, needing help to bolster their economic viability. For CFI, it is not simply a matter of helping them gain financial autonomy, but also to preserve their independence and their very existence.
An ongoing commitment to freedom of information
From the broadcasting of the first television programmes in Cameroon in 1989 to the creation of a dedicated residence for Ukrainian journalists in exile in 2023, CFI's history has been shaped by its ongoing commitment to defending freedom of information.
The agency's aims have remained the same since 1989: to promote the broadcasting of information and contribute to the consolidation of civil society, the rule of law and democratic regimes.
In other words, to support public expression and the media in the hope of contributing, in its own way, to the creation of a more peaceful society and a more sustainable world.