Italian Newspaper L'Opinione: Eutelsat Involved in the Beijing Information Blockade

Italian newspaper L'Opinione carried a news article recently concerning Eutelsat's decision to no longer broadcast NTDTV. The article stated:

As of June 16, the Chinese-language television station NTDTV can no longer use Eutelsat's W5 satellite to transmit programs in Asia. Eutelsat claimed that this was due to a technical problem, but there is a doubt that this incident was caused by technical reasons, but rather is the result of political pressure from Beijing.

In early July this year, Taiwan's representatives to France, and some Members of the European Parliament (including Erik Meijer, the MEP from the Netherlands) asked Eutelsat to resume the NTDTV broadcasts, because they are convinced that there are political factors behind the move to block NTDTV.

The non-profit organisation for safeguarding the freedom of the press, Reporters Without Borders, published a document on its website, which confirmed the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) interference. A recording of a telephone conversion obtained on June 23 documented that a Eutelsat representative in Beijing admitted, in a telephone conversation with a Chinese government official that, "it was decided by our CEO from headquarters in France to discontinue the NTDTV signal. We can stop any transponder. The reason for him (the Eutelsat's CEO) to do so is because we have received pressure from the Chinese Communist regime repeatedly. From two years ago, the Chinese Bureau of Broadcasting and Television, has been saying to us again and again, 'stop the signals of that television station, then we can talk about our business collaboration.' "

Reporters Without Borders published this telephone recording, and publicly requested Eutelsat CEO Mr. Giuliano Berretta to restore NTDTV's signal because NTDTV is the only channel for many Chinese people to break through the CCP's information blockade. For example, when the SARS epidemic broke out in China, NTDTV was the only television station reporting the truth on the SARS epidemic. It also reported factually the news about the death of Zhao Ziyang (Zhao had been put under house arrest for many years by the CCP because he opposed the repression of the 1989 Tiananmen student movement), the protest activities in Hong Kong, as well as the CCP's persecution of Christians, Tibet and Falun Gong.

This is the kind of news that the Chinese people can never see in Chinese state-run media. It is obvious that the CCP views NTDTV as a big threat. The CCP has a number of ways to force foreign satellite companies to co-operate with it and participate in its repressions. As Reporters Without Borders exposed, the CCP's CCTV has purchased more than 30 satellite channels, in fact six channels are enough for it to provide 99% coverage of its needs.


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