European Parliament Holds a Joint News Conference about the Recent Eutelsat Incident

On July 15th, 2008, together with NTDTV in Europe, Reporters without Borders and International Press Alliance, MPs of political parties in the European Parliament held a joint news conference, strongly condemning the closure of NTDTV’s broadcast signals in Asia by the Eutelsat Company before the Beijing Olympics, asking the European Union and the Government of France to put pressure on the European Satellite Company by complying with the philosophy of European human rights, democracy and law and have the signals of NTDTV resumed as soon as possible. Attracted by the conference, many officials in the European parliament and media participated.

Together with NTDTV in Europe, Reporters without Borders, International Press Alliance, MPs of political parties in the European Parliament are holding a joint news conference

Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament

First of all, Mr. Yves. Heman, the spokesman for NTDTV in Belgium issued a statement refuting the act of Eutelsat who have shut down the broadcast signals of NTDTV in Asia by using an excuse of technical problems. What is particularly shocking is that the Reporters Without Borders released their investigation report last Thursday, from which, the public have seen that with the long-term pressure from the Chinese Communist Party how Eutelsat has made such a decision violating the free flow of information. He expressed, currently, it is the most urgent task for us to have the signals of NDTTV resumed in China as soon as possible, especially with the approaching of the Olympic Games, during this period of time and Chinese people are in great need of seeing the information without being blockaded.

In his speech, Mr. Marc Gruber, director of the International Press Alliance in European Branch said: It was three years ago that the International Press Alliance protested against Eutelsat attempting to cut off the signals of NTDTV in China. This time, the situation is different from what it was before, including the political background and the Olympic Games.

The News Conference was hosted by Mr. Marco Cappato, Italian MP from European Liberal Democratic Party. He said: “I think that the European Union should issue a formal statement, putting pressure on Eutelsat in order to solve the so-called technical problems.” He still added, “Up to now, a letter signed by 50 MPs has been sent to the President of Eutelsat asking for the resumption of the signals. This is only the beginning; we will be trying to formally address inquiries to the European Union about this matter.”

Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament from the Christian Democratic Party the largest party in the European Parliament, said: the Eutelsat company is headquartered in France, while France is the current rotating presidency of the European Union. So it has an obligation to have its feet firmly planted in Europe, which is to put the philosophy of human rights, democracy and law into practice and it should encourage free information flow into China. The Government of France should put pressure on Eutelsat and have the broadcast signals of NTDTV in mainland China resumed. When discussing issues about China during the plenary session of the European Parliament held last Wednesday, Mr. McMillan-Scott directly asked the Government of France to help resume the signals of NTDTV as soon as possible.

Ms. Helga Trupel, MP of the European Parliament from the German Green Party is not only Chairman of the Council of Education and Culture but also a member of the European Parliament delegation to China, and she has been to China four times in recent years. Helga said, “Because of the Olympic Games, the CCP authorities promised to open China, allowing people to have more freedom and improving human rights. But now we have realised that everything it promised was false. The actual situation has become even worse. They control people, suppress them even more severely in their speech, and people have no freedom to air their own opinions.” She asked for France to put pressure on Eutelsat and allow NTDTV, a free media, to be again broadcasted in China.

Ms. Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Polish MP of the European Parliament from European Union Party is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. She said, “I am from a former communist country, can really understand the meaning of living in an environment whose media is monitored. The decision made by Eutelsat in Europe has had thousands of millions of Chinese people lose their source of independent news. Any economic interests can not over-ride human rights; we can not accept this act of sacrificing an independent TV station to please the CCP regime.”

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