The Introduction of a 'Tax-and-Fund' System to Subsidise Public Television in France: Cultural Revolution or Legal Swamp?

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Abstract:

In January 2008, President of the French Republic Nicolas Sarkozy proposed to abolish all advertising on the public television channels of France Télévisions. On 5 March 2009, a new law on public television was adopted. The law introduces the gradual surpression of advertising on the public television channels. Moreover, it provides that lost advertising revenues are to be publicly compensated on the basis of two new taxes levied on media and telecommunications companies. This 'tax-and-fund' system significantly alters the funding basis of France Télévisions. It also raises questions in light of the European State aid rules and the telecommunications directives. The article studies the legal implications of the new law, consecutively addressing its use of vague concepts, the analysis by the European Commission on the basis of the Broadcasting Communication and its telecommunications framework. It concludes that the new law can be considered a legal swamp, while having little impact on public service outcomes.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5235/175776310794389391

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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