Eutelsat Satellite TV Censor

 Pressuring Eutelsat into TV censorship

1st July

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How has China knocked out critical satellite TV?

New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV)'s broadcasts into Asia have been disrupted since June 16, 2008, with some fearing that it is an extension of the Chinese Communist Party's media censorship.

NTD is one of the few independent television networks broadcasting into mainland China and carries many reports on issues such as Falun Gong, Tibet, human rights in China, and the international movement to quit the Chinese Communist Party.

The satellite provider, EutelSat, told the New York-headquartered station that their W5 satellite unexpectedly stopped because of a "technical anomaly," and that they did not know when it could be repaired.

EutelSat told the station that four of the five transponders for the satellite had experienced an anomaly to part of its power generator subsystem, which affects the operating transponders used by NTD and prevents NTD from using the alternate transponders.

This incident has meant a complete shutdown of NTD's broadcasts into Asia.


15th July

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China pressurises Eutelsat to end broadcast of critical TV channel

Eutelsat, the French satellite operator that suspended an independent TV station's broadcast to China on June 16 blamed a technical “anomaly” for the shutdown.

Yet the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has obtained evidence that it says shows the shutdown by Eutelsat was a premeditated, politically motivated decision, openly violating the free flow of information.

New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) and RWB called on Canada and France to urge the France-based satellite provider to immediately resume NTDTV's broadcast.

Katherine Borlongan, executive director of RWB Canada, said the organization procured a recorded conversation on June 23 between a Eutelsat employee in Beijing and someone the employee thought was an official of the Chinese regime's propaganda department.

The recording exposes that the CEO of Eutelsat, Giuliano Berretta, stopped NTDTV's broadcast under pressure from the Chinese regime, she said.

It revealed that when Eutelsat's W5 satellite suffered technical problems and had to shut down several transponders, Berretta deliberately chose one that would stop the transmission of NTDTV.

Eutelsat has been attempting to sign lucrative contracts with China for several years. In the recorded conversation, the employee said Eutelsat had received complaints and reminders from the Chinese government about NTDTV, and Chinese authorities had told Eutelsat two years ago to turn it [NTDTV] off before we can talk.

Founded in 2001, New York-based NTDTV is an independent, not-for-profit station that has been broadcasting via satellite into mainland China and across Asia since 2004. It is the only Chinese-language media broadcasting news into China that is uncensored by the communist authority.


13th September

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Eutelsat says no to censoring Syria TV channel airing messages by Gaddafi

French satellite operator Eutelsat has said it had no right to turn off a Syrian television station that is broadcasting audio messages by ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are unknown, has defiantly spoken several times on Syria-based Arrai TV since losing control of Tripoli on Aug. 23, calling on his supporters to continue their resistance to the new authorities.

Eutel, the world's third-largest satellite operator, said earlier it was in contact with local distributor Noorsat to see whether Noorsat could stop transmitting Arrai and sister channel al-Oruba, which has also give Gaddafi a platform to speak.

We talked to Noorsat and Noorsat removed al-Oruba, Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O'Connor said. That was their decision and their action. Arrai is still broadcasting and as things stand at the moment we have taken it as far as we can. O'Connor added that Eutelsat did not judge or censor content and it was not up to it to make the decision to stop transmissions.


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