Dutch gov't pulls its program sponsorship

$18 mil spent on TV over past two years

AMSTERDAM -- The Dutch government will halt its sponsorship of television programs on both the public and commercial TV channels.

Over the past two years, several government ministries have invested a total of 11.8 million euros ($18.3 million) in a wide range of programs, including weather reports on commercial station SBS6 and documentaries on the history of Europe for public broadcaster VPRO.

Minister of Culture Ronald Plasterk justified the cancellation by declaring that he favors independent television without involvement of the authorities.