M6 protests France Televisions funding

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PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy's ad-free public TV plan is continuing to cause a stir in France, with private TV network M6 protesting the government's plans to make up for the 150 million euros ($236 million) loss in advertising on the country's public channels.

Jean-Francois Cope's special commission devoted to funding and planning for the nation's Sarkozy-initiated "new public television service" on Tuesday announced that the total loss in advertising at public TV group France Televisions will come to 150 million euros ($236 million).

Cultural Minister Christine Albanel then pledged direct government support to make up for the loss. On Friday, at a special meeting organized by Gallic magazine Telerama, M6 president Nicolas de Tavernost claimed that the government's move to pay 150 million euros to France Televisions was unfair.

Tavernost announced plans to write to the government to request similar funding for the private networks.

"If there's a compensation for the public channels, there should be one for the private as well," de Tavernost said. "There's no reason to aid only France Televisions if it's because of the circumstances of the advertising market. The first trimester of 2008 wasn't good for anyone."
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