La Libre Belgique
La Libre Belgique (English: Free Belgium) is a Belgian newspaper in French. In Belgium, it is seen as roughly equivalent to the Flemish De Standaard. The paper is widely perceived as pro-catholic. Along with another high circulation French-speaking newspaper Le Soir, it dominates the market in Wallonia and the French-speaking part of Brussels.
La Libre Belgique was founded in February 1915 by the brothers Louis and Victor Jourdain who had been active in the world of newspaper publishing. The paper was initially secretly published in Belgium which at the time was occupied by the Germans. Hence its name which was at the same time an allusion to the collaborationist paper La Belgique. Several weeks before the end of the hostilities, both of the Jourdain brothers died of natural causes. Their work was continued by Victor’s two sons Joseph and Paul Jourdain.
The newspaper was also published secretly during World War II in a number of unofficial editions. In 1959 the paper reached a record circulation of 190 thousand copies. However, by 1999 it had dropped to 68 212 copies. The current editor in chief is Vincent Slits.
The paper was noted widely as one of the papers involved in a feud with Google relating to which content that could be linked and cached by Google. In July 2011, the paper was totally removed from Google News and Google's normal web search. The paper can however now be found again by Google Web Search.
- Albert van de Kerckhove, L'histoire merveilleuse de La Libre Belgique, A. Dewit, 1919
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