Author member of Academie Francaise, Goncourt Prize winner

This article was corrected on July 1, 2002.

PARIS — Paybox Canal Plus appointed author Erik Orsenna vice chairman of the board Friday — the post that Cannes Film Fest topper Gilles Jacob was forced to turn down after a media row about conflict of interest.

Following the row (Daily Variety, June 16), broadcasting authority the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisual (CSA) asked Canal Plus to choose an independent board member with an art and culture background.

Orsenna, of Cuban descent, is a member of the prestigious Academie Francaise and winner of the 1988 Goncourt Prize for his book “Exposition Coloniale” (Love and EmpireOrsenna, an economist, was an adviser to the late French President Francois Mitterand, advising him on the now famous “French cultural exemption” that distinguishes cultural products, such as films, from commercial goods and shields them via regulatory protections and financial benefits.

The post was previously held by Spanish writer and ex-culture minister Jorge Semprun.

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