France 2 is the largest French public television network. It is part of the France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 5, Réseau France Outre-mer, and the digital-only France 4. France Télévisions also participates in ARTE, EuroNews, several cable/satellite thematic channels,and Mediamétrie. Note that strangely enough there is NO free-on-air satellite numeric broadcast for this state-owned French television channel
France 2 was called Antenne 2 (Aerial 2) until September 7, 1992. In the 1970s, as part of ORTF, it was simply called La Deuxième Chaîne (The Second Channel).
The channel began broadcasting in 1963 using the 625-lines standard (but not yet in color), in preparation for the end of the older, black and white only, 819-line TV standard.
On October 1, 1967 at 14:15 CET, the network switched from black and white to color using SECAM. Antenne 2 was the first color channel in France; it was several years before TF1 was colorized and changed to the 625-line TV standard. Later, the system evolved, and allowed France 2 to broadcast some programs in stereo using the NICAM system (compatible with SECAM).
Since April 7, 2008, at 03:20 CEST, all the programs of France 2 are broadcast in France in 16:9 Widescreen format over the analog SECAM air frequencies and the French DVB-T multiplex frequencies (known as Television Numerique Terrestre). The format changeover has been announced for France 5 but will occur later. From July 1, an HD Signal of France 2 will be broadcast via DVB-S Service CanalSat .
Since 1975 France 2 was available in Italy (regions of Tuscany, Lower Veneto and parts of Lombardy and Liguria) using SECAM and since 1983 using PAL until 2003 when the frequencies were sold.
Since December 11, 2006, France 2 was again available in entire Italy on DVB-T television until June 7, 2007, when was replaced by France 24 (Radio France Internationale only in Rome).
Now France 2 is only available in Aosta Valley due to Italian self-government laws.
- Jacques Thibau: 07/1965 – 11/1967
- Maurice Cazeneuve: 11/1967 – 09/1971
- Pierre Sabbagh: 09/1971 – 03/07/1972
- Jean Lefèvre: 03/07/1972
- Jean-Michel Gaillard: 27/09/1989 – 10/01/1991
- Éric Giuily: 10/01/1991 – 09/1992
- Georges Vanderchmitt: 09/1992 – 01/1994
- Raphaël Hadas-Lebel: 01/1994 – 06/1996
- Michel Pappalardo: 06/1996 – 06/1999
- Michèle Cotta: 06/1999 – 06/2002
- Christopher Baldelli: 06/2002 – 09/2005
- Philippe Baudillon: since September 2005.
Lebanese Civil War kidnapping
In March 1986
an Antenne 2 news team was kidnapped
while reporting on the Lebanese Civil War
. Philippe Rochot, Georges Hansen, Aurel Cornéa and Jean-Louis Normandin were four of many Western hostages held by terrorists during the conflict. During Antenne 2 news bulletins the headlines would be followed by a reminder of the French hostages held in Lebanon, including others such as Michel Seurat and Jean-Paul Kaufman, with names, photos and the length of their captivity. Within a year, most of the news team had been released and returned to France
, but the reminders continued until all the hostages had been freed.
Muhammad al-Durrah shooting
On September 30
France 2 aired footage of the shooting of Muhammad al-Durrah
in the Gaza Strip
. The scene was filmed by a Palestinian journalist working for the station Talal Abu Rahma
although the voiceover, which blamed the killing on fire from the Israeli Defence Forces
, was provided by the channel's reporter Charles Enderlin
. Subsequently that account was put in doubt, with others suggesting that the fatal shots could not have come from the IDF position. France 2 later launched libel
actions against commentators who alleged that the entire incident had been staged. France 2 won a case against one of those critics, Philippe Karsenty
, but that judgement was overturned on appeal in May 2008 when the court upheld Karsenty's right to criticise the station over its coverage, on the basis of the evidence he had presented.