No money for French CNN rival

9th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 8 (AFP) - An ambitious French plan to launch an international all-news television network to rival CNN and the BBC has hit a brick wall because there are no funds available, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Thursday.

PARIS, July 8 (AFP) - An ambitious French plan to launch an international all-news television network to rival CNN and the BBC has hit a brick wall because there are no funds available, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Thursday.

"There is no money" for the project, Barnier told journalists in Paris.

Officials last year put forward the idea for the International News Network (CII under its French initials) after feeling that the French global viewpoint was being ignored by the two main channels that span the globe, especially in light of the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq opposed by Paris.

But Barnier, who took over this year as foreign minister from Dominique de Villepin, said: "I still need a few days to hear everyone out and make a decision on this matter, which I found when I arrived and for which there is no money."

The French government announced last September that the project was going ahead as a public-private hybrid made up of leading private television network TF1 and state broadcaster France Televisions, and that it would be operational by "autumn or winter 2004".

State financing for the television channel - whose annual budget for the first five years was put at EUR million (USD 85 million) - was to have been fast-tracked, according to officials at the time.

The plans called for the network to beam French, Arabic and, "if possible", English to northern Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, Central Asia and to the US city of New York, home to the United Nations.

It was to employ up to 150 journalists and rely on contributions from state radio network Radio France Internationale and AFP, with the French foreign ministry likely in charge of its operation.

Other worldwide networks have sprung up in recent years to compete with CNN and the BBC, notably the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera station which started in 1996 and which has an annual budget of USD 30 million.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article