Radio France Internationale

Radio France Internationale, usually referred to as RFI, is the state-owned international radio news network of France. With 59.5 million listeners in 2022, it is one of the most-listened-to international radio stations in the world, along with Deutsche Welle, the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, and China Radio International.[1][2][3]

Radio France Internationale
TypeInternational public broadcaster
OwnerFrance Médias Monde
(Government of France)
Founded1945 (1975 as Radio France International)

RFI broadcasts 24 hours per day around the world in French and in 16 other languages in FM, shortwave, medium wave, satellite and on its website. It is a channel of the state company France Médias Monde. The majority of shortwave transmissions are in French and Hausa but also includes some hours of Swahili, Portuguese, Mandinka, and Russian. RFI broadcasts to over 150 countries on 5 continents.[3] Africa is the largest part of radio listeners, representing 60% of the total audience in 2010.[4] In the Paris region, RFI comprises between 150,000 and 200,000 listeners. Its digital platforms attract an average of 24.6 million visits a month (2022 average) while 31.1 million followers stay connected via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Youtube.[5]

In 2020, the audience was of 58.1 million listeners (up to 11.6 million compared to 2019, +25%), breaking down into 29.8 million in French-speaking Africa, 11 million in non-French speaking Africa, 2 million in the Maghreb region, 1.3 million in Europe, 13 million in the Americas and 1 million in Asia.[6]


Logo of RFI from 1996 until June 2013.

RFI was created in 1975 as part of Radio France by the Government of France, and replaced the Poste Colonial (created in 1931), Paris-Mondial (1937), Radio Paris (1939), a private station which was commandeered by the Germans during the occupation of France, and the Voice of France which was operated by the Vichy regime from 1941 to 1944, RTF Radio Paris (1945) and ORTF Radio Paris (1965). In 1986 the French Parliament changed the law to allow RFI to operate independently of Radio France.

RFI operates under the auspices and primary budget of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. It broadcasts primarily in French, but also in English, Swahili, Hausa, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Persian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and as of 2015, Manding. As of 2 April 2020, the English service has ceased broadcasting, replaced by a selection of French music.

It also owns Monte Carlo Doualiya (formerly Radio Monte Carlo Middle East), which produces Arabic programmes in Paris, and airs them from a transmitter in Cyprus to audiences across the Middle East and North Africa.



On 17 September 2002, Togolese President Gnassingbé Eyadéma tried to stop the broadcasting of an interview with one of his opponents, Agbéyomé Kodjo, by phoning directly to the Elysée Palace. The interview was not censored by Jean-Paul Cluzel, RFI's CEO at the time, due to the coordinated intervention of the journalists' trade unions. However, a report raising questions regarding the French secret services responsibilities in the 1995 death of judge Bernard Borrel in Djibouti, which was broadcast on 17 May 2005, was later removed from RFI's website for undisclosed reasons, possibly due to the intervention of Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh.[7]

On 21 October 2003, Jean Hélène was reporting for RFI during the civil war in Ivory Coast when he was killed in Abidjan by police sergeant Théodore Séry Dago.

On 2 November 2013, RFI reporting team Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were murdered while covering the Mali elections. The United Nations set their death date to commemorate the International Day of Impunity each year.[8]

In November 2020, RFI mistakenly published numerous obituaries of famous people on its own web site, as well as sending them to related web sites, after moving draft stories to a new system.[9]

The government of Niger suspended two state-owned media outlets, France 24 and the RFI following the 2023 Nigerien coup d'état.[10]



RFI offers a daily podcast in simple French, accessible via iTunes, named Journal en français facile.[11] There are also several other podcasts including the weekly Afrique Presse,[12] which is hosted by Assane Diop and discusses the most important news in Africa that week.


  • "The world's radio!" (1987 - 1996)
  • "And the news become worldwide" (2010 - 2013)
  • "Voices of the world" (from 2013)

See also



  1. ^ "Who are we?". RFI. 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  2. ^ "Public Diplomacy News". USC Center on Public Diplomacy. University of Southern California. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Rapport du CSA sur l'exécution du cahier des charges de France Médias Monde" (PDF). Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel. France Médias Monde. 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ "RFI (Radio France Internationale)". 16 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Who are we?". RFI. 2015-12-14. Retrieved 2024-01-08.
  7. ^ "Une 'CNN à la française' - Parrain privé, chaîne publique". Le Monde Diplomatique. Paris. January 2006. (also available in Persian here [1])
  8. ^ "UN General Assembly adopts resolution on journalists safety". Reporters Without Borders.
  9. ^ "Radio France Internationale publishes obituaries of people still alive". BBC. 16 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Niger suspends France 24 and RFI, Paris "very strongly condemns"". Le Point.
  11. ^ "RFI - Journal en français facile 20H TU". Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  12. ^ "Afrique Presse". Retrieved 2021-01-21.