France’s President Sarkozy has been unveiling a rage of policies as part of what he grandly calls his ‘policy of civilisation’. He said: “we consider the total suppression of advertising on public channels”, seen as vital to improving the quality of programming currently dominated by game shows and reality television and declining viewer numbers. This would be funded by: “an infinitesimal sales tax on new communication methods, like Internet access and mobile telephony.”
A levy of around an extra 1 euro per month for Internet and mobile users is the likely outcome in France if the proposal is enacted.In addition a levy would be placed on the advertising revenues of France’s private commercial broadcasters. Sarkozy promised a “cultural revolution in public service television.”
Sarkozy recently announced also that funding would be withdrawn for France-24 the English language 24 hour TV news service.
Critics would likely say that Sarkozy would be using the popularity of the new media to prop up the decline of the old and that a reduction or elimination of advertising is not always a guarantee that programme quality will automatically improve or that viewer numbers will increase.