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French Public TV Scraps Nighttime Ads

Commercials on French public television will soon become a relic of the past under President Nicloas Sarkozy's media reform plans, which many French broadcasters oppose.

French Channel 2 presented its first commercial-free night Monday, eliminating advertising between eight o'clock at night and six o'clock in the morning.

All advertising on all four public television stations would be phased out by 2011.

The staff at one French station walked off their jobs Monday to protest the changes. More strikes are planned Wednesday when the French Senate begins debate on the broadcast reform bill. The lower house of parliament has already passed it.

The bill would give President Sarkozy power to hire public television bosses and make funding decisions.

Supporters of the advertising change say broadcasters would no longer have to worry about trying to get high ratings and could put on better quality shows. The government has also promised to make up for lost revenue when commercials are eliminated.

Broadcasters fear job cuts and say the president would control content.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.