France could scrap commercials on state radio

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday proposed to eliminate commercials from state-owned radios, having already proposed to scrap advertising on public television.

Sarkozy also said in a speech there would be no change in the scope of state-owned channels, grouped in France Television.

"This choice does not imply any change in the scope of France Television," he said.

"In order to make things coherent, I want French public radio services, regrouped under Radio France, to undergo the same changes," he added.

Last week Sarkozy proposed scrapping ads on public TV channels and funding the revenue shortfall with a tax on private channels and on new communication means such as Internet and mobile phone.

French public television channels currently generate nearly 1 billion euros ($1.47 billion) in advertising revenues.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Sunday the government was considering a raft of measures to make up for the shortfall, including taxing private TV and telecoms operators.

He said also that France Television had been asked to make savings.

French newspaper Les Echos reported on Thursday that France could tax new computer, television and mobile phone sales by 1 to 2% to help fund its state-owned TV channels.

Asked about the newspaper report, Secretary of State for Consumer Affairs Luc Chatel told LCI television: "We are at the reflection stage... We will study different ideas for possible financing."

Les Echos said the tax plan was discussed at a meeting at Sarkozy's offices on Monday and, based on total consumer electronics sales of around 17 billion euros, could raise 170 to 340 million euros.
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