Ad-free pubTV and radio in France: Sarkozy proposes tax on internet and telephone providers to offset revenue loss

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed a new tax to offset revenue losses when advertising is eliminated from state-funded public radio and television, beginning Jan. 1, 2009. In addition to a 3 percent tax on private TV’s ad revenues, the state will tax internet providers and telephone companies 0.9 percent to make up for the estimated $1.3 billion loss in revenue. Sarkozy announced in January that he wanted to eliminate ads to ensure quality programming, but critics say he’s simply handing ad dollars to private channels. France’s biggest private station, TF1, is owned by a close friend of Sarkozy. In February, pubTV and radio staff staged a strike against the plan.