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Euro TF1 ruling due in April

BRUSSELS — The European Commission will issue a ruling in April on whether French pubcasters France 1 and France 2 are in breach of EU competition rules by taking green from advertisers as well as the public purse, a commission official revealed Monday.

French private channel TF1 filed a complaint last year in Brussels against its public rivals, alleging that they are using state funding to slash ad prices, giving them an unfair competitive advantage.

In October, the commission ruled against Portuguese private broadcaster SIC, which made a similar allegation against pubcaster RTP (Radiotelevisao Portuguesa).

But commission sources suggest that it may not rule the same way in the French case since RTP’s books showed clearly that state subsidies were only used to compensate RTP for certain general-interest services it is required to broadcast. “The same clarity does not appear to exist in the French case,” the commission official said.

The commission may also issue a ruling in April on a similar dispute in Italy, involving pubcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset.

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