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French writers’ guild hits out at Sarkozy plan

The French writers’ guild, The SACD, has warned that President Sarkozy’s plans to ban advertising on the country’s public broadcaster France Televisions would cause it to be underfunded and lead to a decline in the quality of programming.

Sarkozy wants to finance the broadcaster either by taxing companies that deal with new medias, such as VOD, mobile, and broadband, or by requiring commercial broadcasters to fork over a percentage of their yearly advertising revenues. He then wants to restructure the public broadcasting system to a model similar to the UK broadcaster the BBC.

But SACD general director Pascal Rodyard told TBI that he does not believe the government could raise enough taxes to compensate for the Euro830million (US$1.2b) that France Televisions receives each year from advertisements. He said a rise in license fees would be better.

“If the government wants a system like in Germany or Great Britain, then you have to take your political responsibility and ask for a larger license fee,” Rodyard said.

The French license fee is comparatively low at Euro116 per year.