Members of the European Parliament Demand that Eutelsat Restores NTDTV Broadcasts

Since Eutelsat Communications ceased broadcasting New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) signals to China, political figures in Europe have reacted strongly. There have been continuous calls to Eutelsat to immediately restore the broadcast.

Dutch MEP Mr Erik Meijer speaks at the press conference

On July 4th, 2008, The Dutch Member of the European Parliament Mr. Erik Meijer sent out an urgent inquiry to the EU commission, demanding the commission to investigate Eutelsat about this matter and to use its influence to help restore NTDTV broadcast signals to China. Dutch National News Service, Dutch National Radio and many other media reported this matter.

In his inquiry to the EU commission, Mr Meijer pointed out that Eutelsat’s action very likely stems from its expectation to sign a business contract with the Chinese government. In view of the fact that the EU and Eutelsat are to cooperate to develop the Galileo plan, Mr Meijer said: “The EU should use its contact with this French company to encourage them to restore and maintain NTDTV broadcast to China before the Olympics’ opening ceremony.”

At the press conference in European Parliament Headquarters in Strasbourg on July 9th, Mr Meijer said that only when we are always ready to protect freedom of information, we can truly guarantee good human rights and freedom in Europe. Any passive reaction would not safeguard this freedom.

On July 7th, at a European Parliament plenary session discussing major political affairs, Polish member of the European Parliament’s human rights committee, Ms Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, said that although the exact cause of the incident is not clear yet, but we know who benefited from this incident and who lost. Tens of millions of viewers in China have been blocked and could only see the news from the Chinese Communist regime.

On July 9th, at the European Parliament plenary session discussing the situations in China before the Olympics, vice-president of the European Parliament Mr Edward McMillan-Scott pointed out that NTDTV’s transmissions to China was stopped on June 16th and he earnestly requested the French government to help restore NTDTV broadcast to China.

Mr Thomas Mann, head of the Tibet working group in the European Parliament and a German member of the European Parliament, demanded to immediately restore NTDTV’s satellite signals in the Asian sky. Mr Thomas Mann stressed in the interview that the European Parliament emphasises the freedom of the press. The public needs the media like NTDTV that reports freely and without government censorship. Stopping NTDTV’s signal should never have occurred and it must be restored immediately.

In his speech representing the Green Party, the president of the Green Party in the European Parliament Mr Daniel Cohn-Bendit also strongly condemned the Chinese Communist regime for its total control of the Olympic Games, including TV and Radio.

Up to July 11th more than fifty members of the European Parliament wrote to the CEO of Eutelsat Communications, requesting him to observe the equality and multi-dimensional principles stipulated in Eutelsat’s articles of incorporation and to immediately open NTDTV’s satellite signals in the Asian sky. The letters said that based on the principle of freedom of information, we express our deep concern about this matter. Your decision affects tens of millions viewers in China.

Many members of the European Parliament still have vivid memory about the Eutelsat incident three years ago. At that time almost one hundred members of the European Parliament wrote to the CEO of Eutelsat Communications, demanding Eutelsat to extend its satellite contract with NTDTV to broadcast in the Chinese sky. Under the formidable international pressure, Eutelsat gave up its attempt to terminate its contract with NTDTV at that time.

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