France awaits EU greenlight for French CNN

3rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 2 (AFP) - France is waiting for the European Commission to endorse its plans for an international television news network to rival the BBC and CNN, which it hopes to get on the air early next year.

PARIS, Feb 2 (AFP) - France is waiting for the European Commission to endorse its plans for an international television news network to rival the BBC and CNN, which it hopes to get on the air early next year.

"The European Commission is waiting for notification of the network's financing, notably to see if it is compatible with EU rules on state aid," a spokesman for EU Competition Commission Neelie Kroes told AFP Wednesday.

The new channel, called the French International News Channel (CFII), is to be a joint operation between the state broadcasting company France Televisions and the top-rated national commercial network TF1, with the government providing EUR 30 million (USD 40 million) to get it started.

President Jacques Chirac championed the idea of the new network during the diplomatic spat with the United States in the run-up to the Iraq war.

He was said to be unhappy with the way French policies were presented on international stations such as Britain's BBC World and the US-based CNN.

Marc Tessier, the head of France Televisions, said EU authorisation was needed for the CFII to sign a lease for its headquarters and begin preparing the ground for its first broadcasts, slated to start after April 2006.

The programmes will mostly be in French, although English and other languages would also be used, and, though they would be beamed to several countries, they will not be seen in France itself - limiting the attraction for French advertisers.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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