Emmanuel Macron has promised to scrap the French television licence fee if he is re-elected as president next month, prompting questions over the funding and independence of public television and radio.
In the first public appearance of his election campaign, Macron told voters in Poissy, outside Paris, that scrapping the broadcasting licence fee made sense since he aimed to continue lowering taxes.
Macron mentioned ending the licence fee of €138 (£115) a year – which is paid by about 27m homes – as part of a drive to help the increasing numbers of French people who are worried about making ends meet. The UK colour TV licence is £159.
Politicians on the left warned scrapping the licence fee would leave French public broadcasting at the whim of government budget decisions. The Socialist senator David Assouline tweeted that the implications would be “serious” for the independence of public media and amounted to “dangerous demagoguery”.
The Socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo said scrapping the licence fee would “kill” the independence of public media, weaken public broadcasters in the face of growing private monopolies and “open the door to privatisation”. She said she would keep a licence fee but make it “fairer”.
The centrist senator Catherine Morin-Des
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