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Le Soir

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Le Soir
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Rossel & Cie. S.A
EditorBéatrice Delvaux
Founded1887; 137 years ago (1887)
Political alignmentProgressive, liberalism
HeadquartersRue Royale 100,
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

Le Soir (French pronunciation: [lə swaʁ], lit.'The Evening') is a French-language Belgian daily newspaper. Founded in 1887 by Émile Rossel, it was intended as a politically independent source of news. Together with La Libre Belgique, it is one of the country's most popular Francophone newspapers in both Brussels and Wallonia, and since 2005 has been published in Berliner format. It is owned by Rossel & Cie, which also owns several Belgian news outlets, as well as the French paper La Voix du Nord.

History and profile[edit]

Le Soir was founded as a free advertising newspaper in 1887.[1][2] Later it became a paying paper.[1]

When Belgium was occupied during the Second World War, Le Soir continued to be published under German censorship, unlike many Belgian newspapers which went underground. The paper, which became known as "Le Soir Volé" (or "Stolen Le Soir"), was parodied by the resistance group, the Front de l'Indépendance which in 1943 published a satirical pro-Allied edition of the paper, dubbed the "Faux Soir" (or "Fake Soir"), which was mixed with official copies of the paper and distributed to news kiosks in Brussels. The "Stolen Le Soir" was notable for including Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin cartoons in serialized form during the war.

The renewed production of the "Free Le Soir", under Lucien Fuss, restarted on 6 September 1944, just days after the Allied Liberation of Brussels. The publisher of the paper is Rossel company.[3]


In the period of 1995–96 Le Soir had a circulation of 182,798 copies.[4] Its 2002 circulation was 130,495 copies with a market share of 20.3%.[5] The circulation of the paper was 104,000 copies in 2003[6] and 101,000 copies in 2004.[3]

Editorial stance[edit]

Compared to its centre-right Catholic competitor, La Libre Belgique, Le Soir is seen as liberal and progressive with politically federalist leanings.

Reaffirmed on the occasion of the release of the new format on 15 November 2005, Le Soir describes its editorial stance as "a progressive and independent daily newspaper."[7] It describes its aims to be a "counterweight" and "always alert, in line with society".

It describes its role as:

An evening paper to fight for the rights of man and women, to respect human dignity, freedom of expression, tolerance, multiculturalism, difference

— Béatrice Delvaux, editor-in-chief, 2005.[8]

Google controversy[edit]

The newspaper gained some notoriety on the internet after it successfully sued the search engine Google for copyright infringement. The case was built on the fact that Google made parts of the newspaper's website available through its search engine and its Google News service, even after the articles in question had been removed from the newspaper's website.[9] A Belgian judge ruled that this did not conform to Belgian regulations and ordered Google to remove all "copyright violations" from its websites. Google responded by removing all links to the newspaper not only from its news service but also from its search index.[10]

Charlie Hebdo bomb threat[edit]

In response to the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people died on 7 January 2015, some international organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and the Index on Censorship called for controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons to be re-published in solidarity with the French satirical magazine and in defense of free speech.[11][12] The Hamburger Morgenpost included Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front cover on 8 January and was subsequently firebombed.[13]

Le Soir faced bomb threats for republishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons,[14][15] including many satirising religion.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bart Van Besien (29 October 2010). "The case of Belgium". Media policies and regulatory practices in a selected set of European countries, the EU and the Council of Europe (PDF). Athens: The Mediadem Consortium. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  2. ^ "European News Resources". NYU Libraries. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Media pluralism in the Member States of the European Union" (PDF). Commission of the European Communities. Brussels. 16 January 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  4. ^ Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration & Commerce. SAGE Publications. 24 September 1998. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-4462-6524-6. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  5. ^ David Ward (2004). "A Mapping Study of Media Concentration and Ownership in Ten European Countries" (PDF). Dutch Media Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  6. ^ "World Press Trends" (PDF). World Association of Newspapers. Paris. 2004. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Communicating Europe Manual: Belgium" (PDF). European Stability Initiative. July 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  8. ^ Delvaux, Béatrice (2005). "Le Soir se leve contre l'inacceptable". Le Soir. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  9. ^ White, Aoife (13 February 2007). "Belgian Newspapers win Google Lawsuit". Toronto Star. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  10. ^ Belgian newspaper: Google blocking us on searches, Associated Press via CBS News, 15 July 2011
  11. ^ "Don't let free speech die". Index on Censorship. 8 January 2015.
  12. ^ "RWB Appeals to Media Outlets to Publish Charlie Hebdo Cartoons". Reporters Without Borders. 7 January 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  13. ^ Withnall, Adam (11 January 2015). "Hamburger Morgenpost firebomb: Arson attack on German newspaper that printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons". The Independent. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Belgian paper that ran Charlie cartoons evacuated after threat". Yahoo News. 11 January 2015.
  15. ^ Béatrice Delvaux (11 January 2015). "La rédaction du "Soir" évacuée après des menaces: un suspect bientôt interpellé". Le Soir.
  16. ^ "Les Unes emblématiques de Charlie Hebdo". La Soir.

External links[edit]