11.21.15

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It Pays (Off) to ‘Bribe’ the Media: Watch How Les Échos Covers EPO Matters and Self-Censors

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On newspapers for sale, not to the public but to the richest 1%

Les Échos and EPO

Summary: French newspaper Les Échos is self-censoring yet again and it is framing the EPO scandals as the fault of employees, not the fault of abusive managers who are working with Les Échos as a so-called ‘media partner’ (the EPO management is French-dominated)

We’ve finally finished colour-coding the EPO Wiki. Some of the items which we covered earlier this year showed how the EPO’s management had paid journals, newspapers and so on for puff pieces and positive coverage (basically bought coverage). Is this what science and technology stand for? Isn’t that a gross abuse of EPO funds? Remember how newspapers went as far as censoring their own reporters after the EPO’s managers had apparently paid. We’ll never forget this.

“Some of the items which we covered earlier this year showed how the EPO’s management had paid journals, newspapers and so on for puff pieces and positive coverage (basically bought coverage).”A reader has drawn our attention to this French article (translation would be appreciated). “I saw this bit in one of the comments,” he explained, “which you don’t seem to have picked up.”

Since we don’t have people who comprehend French here, it hasn’t helped. “Truly jaw-dropping,” called it our reader, “and we’ve seen a lot in this story already. “Les Échos” is a French business newspaper, who already swiftly canned coverage mildly unfavorable to Benoît Battistelli.”

We covered it earlier this year. Les Échos is basically disgracing itself and demonstrates that it self-censors based on who’s paying. The EPO is disgracing itself by paying journalists.

“Here are the first few lines of what on the surface seems to be a piece of, er, commissioned work,” wrote our reader, “followed by my quick translation…”

Here is what was sent to us:

Accueil > Dossiers thema > Transformation : mettre de l’agilité dans son organisation

Transformation : les « ennemis » de l’intérieur

Collaborateurs, syndicats et même patrons sont parfois si réfractaires au changement que le processus de transformation de l’entreprise s’en trouve contrarié. Les exemples de l’Office européen des brevets (OEB), Air France KLM et de PSA.

Looking at the page right now, we notice that it says this:

Collaborateurs, syndicats et même patrons sont parfois si réfractaires au changement que le processus de transformation de l’entreprise s’en trouve contrarié. Les exemples de l’Office européen des brevets (OEB), Air France et KLM.

Got the difference? Focus on the part that says “et de PSA.” Got removed? Was it self-censorship? Editorial decision? Pressure from the entities covered? Les Échos is increasingly looking like a farce.

Here is the translation we have been given:

Home -> Themes -> Transformation -> put agility in your organisation

Transformation: The enemies within

“Employees, unions and even bosses are sometimes so averse to change that the business transformation process is hindered. Some examples from the EPO, Air France KLM, and PSA.”

The part about PSA was altogether removed. In fact, PSA (PSA Peugeot-Citroen) is no longer even mentioned in this article at all! What a splendid act of deletionism, regarding a French entity (like much of the EPO’s management).

“The rest is a sickening puff piece,” told us the reader, “essentially LITERALLY revolving on how poor old Conducator Benoît Battistelli is hindered in his Promethean achievements by a mean backward union hostile to progress.”

As one person put it in IP Kat comments:

Maybe the appropriate moment to remind the readers that the French newspaper Les Echos is a “media partner” of the EPO (see the bottom of this page for example: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:2eNzC-MVKc0J:https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor_fr.html , or already reported on this very blog: http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/06/french-toast-leaves-sour-taste-for.html ). Les Echos is bound by contract with the EPO and whilst Mr. Benoît Battistelli is so boastful on transparency, the contracts with the EPO “media partners”, alike his own employement contract, are well kept secrets. Careful observers can only speculate that actual journalism is not part of it since when it happens by accident, it is promptly corrected: http://techrights.org/2015/06/18/les-echos-epo-censorship/ and http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/06/french-toast-leaves-sour-taste-for.html ).

Anyone having followed the events can only come to the conclusion that the latest report of Les Echos does not depart from this secret contract since the misrepresentation of facts is systematic and the comparison of the EPO with other patent offices, not as local administrative authorities but as competing private entities, is stunning!

There are other good comments there, one about the timing of this article (exactly a day after massive staff protests, immediately to be followed by projection and blame-shifting):

I was at the demo and this article seems to have forgotten an important fight: the timing.

In their last meeting, the council instructed the president to renew social dialogue and start a social study. On the very day the board 28 meets, the president suspends 3 elected personal representatives. It cannot be by chance that it happens the very same day. Next, to make sure the council really loses face, he will probably fire all three on the day the council meets in december.

In the demo, Els Hardon said it looked like a declaration of war from the president to the council. Apparently, it is also not the first time that the president tells members of the council (who are supposed to be his superiors) that they are idiots and that he knows better.

The president is out of control. He is not following the orders from the council, that is a blatant fact. In the demo, it was asked whether he is actually becoming insane (not by Els hardon, I don’t remember by whom, more people spoke).

Now I have a question: what happens if the president of the office is incapacited (for example, because he is becoming insane)? Is there a provision in that case, something like an interim? I would like an article about that.

In the future we will cover more such stories because it is evident that EPO meddling/intervening inside the media (like paying Les Échos or some respected journals) has an effect. Les Échos is once again defending the EPO’s management, perhaps hoping for money to come from it in the future. Corporate media is not designed to inform; it’s designed to maximise profit.

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