Amid Faljaoui lends his services to the private bank for communication operations. The Association of Professional Journalists denounces this mixing of genres. The person concerned defends himself.
Amid Faljaoui, director of magazines at Roularta and editor-in-chief of Trends Tendances, has been put on the spot by his peers. In its Tuesday edition, Le Soir recounts its links with Degroof Petercam, noting that it acts as private banking advisoranimating conferences, intervening in videos related to economic and financial news, etc.
Au Soir, Amid Faljaoui affirms that he does not write on banking subjects in Trends Tendances and that he never instructed its reporters to write about a particular topic. Nor to choose to put on the cover of the last November 14 issue of the magazine Bruno Colmant, boss of Degroof Petercam. The latter had also given numerous interviews the same day to other newspapers, including L’Echo.
This double hat, however, caused the AJP, the Association of Professional Journalists, to react. In a press release, it considers that the “households” of Amid Faljaoui are “contrary to the rules of the profession”. And to recall that journalists must ensure their independence, avoid conflicts of interest and not collaborate in publicity efforts, adding that an editorial manager should be the first guarantor of these rules even if he is not a journalist. professional. This is the case of Amid Faljaoui who did not apply for this title and is therefore not a member of the AJP. The association announces that it will seize the Journalistic Ethics Council and write to the management of Roularta “to put an end to these behaviors that are harmful to the profession.”
Contacted, Xavier Bouckaert, CEO of Roularta (50% shareholder of Mediafin, publisher of L’Echo) considers that there is no conflict of interest. “Amid Faljaoui has worked for Roularta for more than 20 years, with independent status and he has always respected the independence of the press, he told us; I remember this interview given by Bruno Colmant to Trends Tendances: the questions were not friendly.” And to add: “In Flanders, a lot of journalists host debates and are paid for this work, that’s out of the question.” Internally, some point out that the situation of Amid Faljoui was well known. It should be remembered that he is also managing director of the Cercle de Wallonie, administrator of the UCM and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
For his part, Amid Faljaoui also sees no conflict of interest in his duties. He recalls that he is not an employee of the Roularta group and that its activities are public since the videos produced on behalf of Degroof Petercam are available online. He did the same for other institutions. “When I intervene in videos, I never recommend the purchase or sale of one action or another, I mention market news, whether it is, for example, the business model of Netflix or the impact of the coronavirus on the markets”he defends himself. He also repeats that his journalists demonstrate total independence. “I’m not stupid enough to put pressure on my teams”, he said.
For his part, Bruno Colmant told Le Soir that he fully assumes the situation, also recalling that Amid Faljaoui was in no way hiding his activities.