20 August 2008

IFJ Calls on Eutelsat To End Bar on Chinese NTDTV Broadcasts (Correction)

Today the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the French satellite company Eutelsat to  reinstall the Chinese-language television station NTDTV and three Mandarin radio stations, following their suppression for “technical reasons” on 16 June 2008. The IFJ says that the technicalities of this bar on the broadcaster look increasingly bogus.

"The likelihood is that official Chinese pressure has led to the exclusion of the United States-based NTDTV from access to the satellite," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It's time to end this absurd posturing and let NTDTV get back on the air."  

The IFJ says that the so-called technical problems have evaporated since last week when Radio Free Asia and Voice of America stopped using the Eutelsat satellite. This means that there is a technical availabity for broadcasting NTDTV, contrary to what the leaders of Eutelsat have claimed.


Eutelsat says that some of the satellite’s transponders had to be turned off to allow the other 20 to keep going. But now there is undeniably space for transmission.

The IFJ says that it is no surprise that the suppression of the NTDTV channels occured precisely over the highly sensitive period of the Olympic games in China and that the technical excuses do not seem to be founded.

"We expect Eutelsat to stop hiding behind technical mumbo-jumbo and let this broadcaster operate freely", said White.

We wish to make it clear that NTDTV was not the only channel affected by the action of Eutelsat to shut down part of its satellite signal capacity for broadcasts to China. We apologise for this innacuracy in our earlier statement. We have offered Eutelsat the opportunity to comment on our press statement.

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide

Press Releases, Asia and Pacific, People's Republic of China, East Asia, Europe

Comments :

ef

21 August 2008 at 15:29

oh,the NTDTV. i hate this TV. i had wathed it but i found the TV didnot care about news but about propaganda.

O'Connor

22 August 2008 at 17:21

Eutelsat would like to set the record straight on the press release ‘IFJ calls on Eutelsat to end bar on Chinese NTDTV broadcasts’ which accuses Eutelsat of discrimination against NTDTV. We wish to reaffirm that our company holds absolutely no prejudice against channels broadcast by our satellites and notably NTDTV which broadcasts in Europe via our HOT BIRD™ video neighbourhood. NTDTV has been treated in every respect in identical fashion to other channels present on the W5 satellite which experienced a technical incident in the night of June 16 to 17 which necessitated the shut down of four of the spacecraft’s transponders. In response to the comments on Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, these services were broadcast within the framework of a contract with the American broadcaster IBB. The termination of this contract, which Eutelsat was aware of before the W5 incident happened, was naturally taken into account in managing the consequences of the power loss. Since the end of this contract we confirm that there are no television channels broadcasting Direct-to-Home to Asia via the W5 satellite, and that it will not be possible to resume any Direct-to-Home television service on this satellite. The extent of the problem affecting W5 was explained in person to NTDTV when we received Mr Wang, President of NTDTV Canada, at our headquarters in Paris on 6 August. We confirmed to him that the technical anomaly experienced is irreversible. We also confirmed that Eutelsat operates no other satellite with coverage of Asia but that there are many satellites operated by other operators that have capacity available and that are even able to offer superior coverage of China than W5. We reminded him that a list of the satellites with available capacity has been provided to all our customers interested only in broadcasting their services in Asia, including RRSAT, the service provider of NTDTV. Other customers affected by the anomaly on W5, or seeking better coverage of China, have already done so. We stressed to Mr Wang that we do not understand why Eutelsat is being pressured to resume broadcasting a channel when it is beyond our technical means to provide consumer broadcasting services (DTH) for any TV channel while maintaining safe conditions for the satellite. To conclude, in our function as a satellite operator, Eutelsat’s only motivation is to continue safe operation of W5. We totally refute any allegation that we are exploiting a technical situation to conduct a policy of discrimination.

Yang

25 August 2008 at 22:14

I watch NTDTV programs regularly from the internet (www.ntdtv.com), comparing with the chinese regime's propaganda TVs, NTD gives Chinese one objective view of things happened worldwide, plus many culture and entertainment programs. Considering the situation of Chinese inside Communist China, it is impossible to have such independent Chinese media channel to serve Chinese, therefore it shows the strong need of NTD to broascast to China, if we consider the right of Chinese people to access information. No matter what reasons Eutelsat used and still use to continue to silence NTV, it really does what the Chinese dictatorship wants and really hurts/ does not benefit millions of chinese within China.

Liu

25 August 2008 at 23:40

Ms. O'Connor: Below is from “a recorded conversation with an Eutelsat employee" released by RSF. How are you going to explain it if "NTD is treated in every respect in identical fashion ". ( Full transcript: http://www.rsf.org/print.php3?id_article=27818) Eutelsat: "It was our company’s CEO in France who decided to stop NTDTV’s signal. (...)We could have turned off any of the transponders. (...) It was because we got repeated complaints and reminder from the Chinese government. (...) Two years ago, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television kept saying the same thing over and over: ‘Stop that TV station[NTDTV] before we begin to talk.’" Eutelsat: "It means that we can choose to turn off this transponder, or another transponder. It is under the subjective control. It is controlled by our company. But our CEO [Giuliano Berretta] issued the order to turn that one off. " We want NTD back to China. Million of Chinese do!!

Wang

26 August 2008 at 05:03

I am glad that Ms O'Connor and Eutelsat take this matter seriously and took the time to comment on IFJ's press release. I am also glad to have the reassurance from Eutelsat that NTDTV is not discriminated. I have problem though to align Eutelsat's official claims and its decisions. First, the claim "NTDTV has been treated in every respect in identical fashion to other channels present on the W5 satellite" is not true. At the time when Eutelsat switched off 4 transponders, there were certainly other direct-to-home channels alive on W5. Eutelsat kept telling us that it had no other satellite covering Asia, but they have plenty covering Mid-East/Europe. Yet Eutelsat switched off its only Asia transponders which have no replacement capacity available on Eutelsat fleet but kept W5's Mid-East/Europe transponders which can be easily replaced within Eutelsat's fleet. By any count, what Eutelsat's Beijing employee told whom the employee thought was a Chinese communist party's propaganda department official is closer to the truth: "[Eutelsat:] It was our company CEO in France who decided to stop NTDTV's signal.(...)We could have turned off any of the transponders. (...) It was because we got repeated complaints and reminders from the Chinese government. (...) Two years ago, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television kept saying the same thing over and over: Stop that TV station before we begin to talk. (RSF transcript: http://www.rsf.org/print.php3?id_article=27818) Secondly, when the IBB TV and radio services left W5 on July 31st, 2008, vacating the entire C2 transponder with ample capacity, although Eutelsat had the replacement capacity to switch NTDTV on, Eutelsat chose not to, citing again "technical" concerns on satellite safety. This decision is particularly troublesome as Eutelsat had a press release on July 11th, 2008, claiming that "the power performance of the (W5) satellite is now stabilized" (with the C2 transponder transmitting the 5 TV channels and 12 radio channels from IBB at the time). Eutelsat needs to do a better job explaining why a stabilized satellite carrying 5 TV services can be more "safe" than replacing the 5 TV services (from IBB) with just one (from NTDTV). I must point out that all the decisions Eutelsat has made so far "coincidently" have resulted in denying services for NTDTV, which is "coincidently" in-line with the RSF allegations and in-line with the failed attempt (of denying NTDTV) in 2005 by Eutelsat. Ms O'Connor kept referring to Eutelsat's suggestions to NTDTV on alternative satellite operators. On July 23, 2008, Eutelsat was informed that other operators had been contacted and none could satisfy NTDTV's needs. Eutelsat therefore has no basis for contending in its public statements that NTDTV had not explored alternative solutions. Looking for another satellite provider or not is NTDTV's business, not Eutelsat's. It does not change the fact that Eutelsat denied NTDTV (technical or not) while a valid contract is still in place. One has to wonder why Eutelsat is so eager to push customers to their competitors, while they could have made a different decision to mitigate the alleged problem within their own satellites. At the meeting I had in Eutelsat with Mr Yves Blanc (Eutelsat's Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Relationships) and Ms O'Connor, Mr Blanc admitted that the difference in our views on this issue were not resolved after the meeting. My view remains that Eutelsat has the capacity to resume NTDTV if it chooses to. I would strongly urge Mr Berretta (CEO of Eutelsat) to take this opportunity to do the right thing for himself, his people in Eutelsat and the millions of viewers in China. The Chinese people were grateful for what Eutelsat did in the past 4 years (carrying NTDTV on W5). For the sake of positioning yourself well in history, for the sake of freedom of information for the 20% of humanity in China, and for the sake of the well-being of our children, Mr. Berretta, please solve the "technical" problems and resume NTDTV as soon as possible. Joe Wang President, NTDTV Canada

Duchamps

29 August 2008 at 18:53

Millions of people in China love NTDTV and this TV-channel is their only source of truth. Other TV-channels in China are censored and always influenced by the ideas of the Chinese Communist Party. My personal thinking about this is that everyone, no matter where they live, have the right to see true, uncensored news. It shocked me that now also a French company helps the CCP to gain the effect that millions of Chinese cannot watch true news anymore.

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