In a move feared by civil libertarians as a further manifestation of state enthusiasm for control-freakery, the Blair administration is planning a move into advertiser-funded TV programming, reports COI Communications, the administrative interface between the British government and its roster of advertising and marketing agencies.

The CoI last week spelled out for the first time that TV programme funding is to become an integral part of its €3.5 million ($4.24m; £2.42m) sponsorship budget which - modest though it may currently be - is seen by civil liberties campaigners as the potential thin end of a propaganda wedge.

COI head of sponsorship Daphne de Souza says, revealingly: "We have seen areas such as AFP evolve as a means of reaching particular audiences via light entertainment programming. The aim is to raise awareness of issues and influence behaviour."

De Souza's use of the term "influence behaviour" in the context of state "issues" has met with concern from some onlookers - especially in the light of the UK government's alarming recent spate of attacks on civil liberties.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff