The Spanish government has taken the first steps towards removing advertising from the country’s public TV channels.At the moment, almost half of Spain’s state TV’s 1.1 billion euro annual budget comes from ad-revenue. The rest comes from the government. Under the plan, private broadcasters will be taxed to make up the shortfall. Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez De la Vega said: “The significant fall in the advertising market because of the global economic crisis could threaten the financial stability and budgetary balance of the Spanish Radio and TV Corporation.” The draft proposals limit the amount the public broadcaster can bid for rights to big sporting events to a sum less than 10 percent of their annual budget, except for the Olympic Games. Critics say it is madness. Gaspar Llamazares from the left-wing party Izquierda Unida said: “This is putting public service to serve private interests – serving the interests of multi-national Italian companies which are behind the main commercial TV channels, and not the general interest.” Shares in commercial channels leapt in value, with investors hoping that they will benefit from more revenues once a major competitor is effectively out of the market.