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May 19, 2022

Le Monde is a French newspaper founded by Hubert Beuve-Méry in 1944. Seeking to be a "benchmark" newspaper, regularly considered as such, including abroad, it is the most widely read paid national daily in France (2.44 million readers in 2021) and the most widely distributed (393,109 copies per issue in 2020, up 20.75% in 2020). It was the most widely circulated newspaper abroad until the 2000s, with a daily circulation outside France of 40,000 copies, which fell to 26,000 copies in 2012. At the end of 2021, Le Monde had 500,000 subscribers. Among one of the last so-called “evening” French dailies, it appeared, dated the following day, in Paris at the beginning of the afternoon, as well as a little later in certain large cities. It is then distributed elsewhere the following morning. Its editorial line is sometimes presented as being centre-left, an assertion challenged by the newspaper itself, which claims non-partisan treatment. At the beginning of 2012, an Ifop poll indicated that, among those questioned, 63% of those who voted for left-wing parties in the first round of the presidential election regularly read Le Monde. At the end of 2010, billionaire Xavier Niel took control of the company with Pierre Bergé and Matthieu Pigasse, winning a Perdriel-Prisa-Orange offer. They are joined later by the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky in a mode deemed "brutal", creating tension with Xavier Niel. The newspaper, which benefits from press aid, is thus published by the Le Monde group, 72.5% owned in 2021 by the Le Monde libre holding company, whose owners are Xavier Niel, Madison Cox, Matthieu Pigasse, Daniel Kretinsky and the Prisa group.

History

1944-1968: foundation and institution of a reference journal

The first issue of Le Monde appeared on December 18, 1944, dated December 19 on a single double-sided page. It succeeds the newspaper Le Temps which, victim of the ordinance of September 30, 1944 on the titles having appeared under the occupation of France by Germany, saw its premises requisitioned and its equipment seized. Le Monde, the beneficiary of this confiscation, took over its format and presentation, the editorial team, the workers and employees as well as the former premises located on rue des Italiens, premises where it remained for 44 years and which earned it the nickname of "daily from the rue des Italiens. General de Gaulle, who wanted to provide France with a “prestige newspaper” aimed at foreign countries and which would be the “official” of the Republic, was a driving force behind its creation. He instructed his Minister of Information Pierre-Henri Teitgen to find its director, a difficult choice because most of the men in the press at the time were former collaborators or already at the head of underground press newspapers. Georges Bidault, the president of the National Council of the Resistance suggests the name of Hubert Beuve-Méry to him. The latter hesitated for a long time because he wanted to run a newspaper independent of the political, economic and religious powers. On December 11, 1944, Hubert Beuve-Méry founded the limited liability company Le Monde with a capital of 200,000 francs divided into 200 shares, its first editorial board also included René Courtin, professor of law, and Christian Funck-Brentano, former in charge of press matters in General de Gaulle's office. The daily, intended like Le Temps for the elite, printed 150,000 copies from 1945. Born in the shadow of power, Le Monde gradually emancipated itself from it thanks to Hubert Beuve-Méry who acquired his editorial independence during the Cold War and the Indochina war. The newspaper's employees hold a central place in the management of daily life. In 1951, the Society of Editors of Le Monde was created, q