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French politicians at odds over timing of digital-terrestrial decision

A political row has broken out in France over the timing of the award by media regulator the CSA of frequencies for new channels on the digital-terrestrial platform.

Socialist party presidential candidate François Hollande’s culture and media spokeswoman, Aurélie Filippetti, has called for the decision to be delayed until after the forthcoming election. However, Franck Riester, the national secretary for communication of the governing UMP party, has said there is not need for the regulator to wait for the election. In an interview with Les Echos, he said that the CSA was an independent body and that no line should be drawn between the DTT decision with the presidential election.

Riester said he did not think there was any need to award a new DTT channel to public broadcaster France Télévisions. He said the pubcaster had other priorities including reinforcing the identity of its France 3 and France 4 channels and expanding its global activities. He also said it was unlikely that the government would move to end advertising on the public channels, which is currently restricted to a pre-20:00 window, as it would be difficult to find public money to make up the difference in the current environment.