Gallic news cabler finds purse empty

Lack of funding raises further questions about CII's timetable

PARIS — Storm clouds are gathering above France’s much-ballyhooed all-news network, as the coin promised by the government to fund the project appears to have gone AWOL.

Recently appointed French minister of foreign affairs Michel Barnier said there appears to be no funding for the new network, touted as the Gallic answer to CNN.

“I still need a couple of days to listen to everyone and study the project, which I realized, upon arriving, there’s no money for,” Barnier said.

Dubbed “CII,” the CNN a la Francaise is to be run jointly by private web TF1 and pubcaster France Televisions, with the government funding the web to the tune of e70 million ($86.7 million) a year for the first five.

The network, which was originally slated to begin broadcasting in Europe and Africa by fall or winter 2004, recently pushed back the launch until 2005.

The lack of funding raises further questions about the project’s timetable.

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