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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 14:51 GMT
US public TV shows 'facing cuts'
Elmo of Sesame Street
TV series Sesame Street has been praised for its educational qualities
President George Bush is proposing to cut funds to US public broadcasting by more than $150m (86m) over two years, the Hollywood Reporter has said.

The US president outlined the cuts in his 2007 budget request, in an effort to find more money for the military.

US public broadcasters provide educational programming - focusing on public affairs, children and the arts.

"We see a clear and present danger," said John Lawson, of the Association of Public Television Stations.

Advertising campaign

"We've dealt with cuts from this White House every year, but these are the deepest he's ever presented."

The proposed $157m (90m) cuts will see government funding in public broadcasting reduced by almost 30%.

Last year, public broadcasters in the US managed to avoid proposed cuts.

Congress voted overwhelmingly to restore funds, following an advertising campaign by public TV stations to rally supporters of the service.

"This is a tough environment in Washington right now, and we're competing with other priorities," said Mr Lawson.

The public broadcasting system represents the last stronghold of quality child-oriented programming
Ed Markey, Congressman

"We won last year, but only after we asked the stations to go on the air and tell their communities what was happening."

"But if you do that every year, it loses its effectiveness. We're going to try to win this one on the ground."

Public broadcasting is often targeted by conservative Republicans who dislike its perceived liberalism, but the service enjoys wide support among both Democrats and more moderate Republicans.

"Oscar the Grouch has been friendlier to the Sesame Street characters than President Bush," said Democrat congressman Ed Markey.

"In a world of fast-and-furious television with ratings-driven content, the public broadcasting system represents the last stronghold of quality child-oriented programming - we owe this to America's children."

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