Reporters Without Borders: New Evidence Refuting Eutelsat's Claim that "Technical Problems" Were Responsible for Shutting Down NTDTV's Signals

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According to the Epoch Times newspaper, Eutelsat's shutting down New Tang Dynasty Television's (NTDTV) broadcasts to China has drawn attention from people from all walks of life. Following its previous investigative report which exposed that Eutelsat succumbed to pressure from the Chinese Communist regime, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), headquartered in Paris, France released a statement on August 18th, 2008 that Eutelsat is technically capable of restoring NTDTV's broadcasts into Asia. RSF once again urged Eutelsat's CEO Giuliano Berretta to respect non-discrimination, equal access and media pluralism enshrined in the company's charter, and immediately resume NTDTV's transmissions to China.

Eutelsat has claimed that four of the satellite's transponders, including C4 and C6, had to be turned off to allow the other 20 transponders to function. Moreover, Eutelsat insisted in its press release on July 11th and when they met NTDTV representative Wang Shaojiu on August 6th, that it would not be technically possible to get the four transponders running again. But according to new information obtained by RSF, transponder C6 has been used again for transmitting satellite signals.

RSF asked, "Why is Eutelsat refusing to broadcast NTDTV and three radio stations although some of the transponders that were turned off in June have again been used?"

RSF also emphasised in its statement that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has just withdrawn Voice of America (VOA)and Radio Free Asia (RFA)from the W5 satellite, which leaves sufficient capacity on transponder C2 (that BBG was on), for restoring NTDTV. According to NTDTV spokesperson Carrie Hung, transponder C2 has been working regularly since Eutelsat turned off the four other transponders, including the one which carried NTDTV's signals on June 16th on the pretext of a "technical problem." In July, BBG used the C2 transponder and other transponders on the W5 satellite to broadcast five TV stations and 12 radio stations to Asia.

A BBG spokesperson has confirmed to RSF that none of their broadcasts have been carried by this Eutelsat satellite since August 1st. RSF, then asked Eutelsat why, since the transponder on the W5 satellite has been vacated, Eutelsat continues insisting that it is impossible to restore NTDTV's broadcasts.

RSF wrote to the CEO of Eutelsat, saying, "With the Olympic Games taking place in China, it is vital that Chinese TV viewers should have the possibility of accessing independent news and information. We therefore urge you now to take the necessary measures so that NTDTV broadcasts are again transmitted on the W5 satellite. The many protests by the station's viewers demonstrate its utility and importance."

Since June 16th, when Eutelsat switched off the four transponders, Eutelsat has been claiming that the shutdown was caused by a "technical problem." It has not given any formal explanations to answer either NTDTV's enquiries or the outside world's suspicions.

RSF released an investigative report on July 10th, revealing that Eutelsat's shutdown of NTDTV was not a technical problem as Eutelsat claimed but "a premeditated, politically-motivated decision." Eutelsat's CEO, Giuliano Berretta, deliberately chose to shut down NTDTV to satisfy the Chinese Communist regime in exchange for business opportunities. He has thus become an accomplice of the Chinese Communist totalitarian regime in suppressing freedom of the press.

RSF's investigative report revealed some surprising internal information, such as that the Chinese Communist regime has been pressing Eutelsat for years to shut down NTDTV. Moreover, Eutelsat has a backup transponder, but it has concealed this fact from world. The third-party, independent investigation once again verified speculation that Eutelsat has succumbed to the Chinese Communist regime, the behind-the-scenes manipulator. Under strong pressure from the CCP, Eutelsat published a statement on July 25th, claiming that it holds no prejudice against NTDTV, but at the same time, Eutelsat notified NTDTV that it will terminate its contract on October 31st of this year. On August 1st, the BBG terminated its contract with Eutelsat, and withdrew VOA and RFA from the W5 satellite. NTDTV released a statement the same day expressing regret over the BBG's decision and also urged Eutelsat to immediately use this vacated transponder to restore the transmissions of NTDTV.

NTDTV stated that the RSF investigative report revealed that Eutelsat's CEO Giuliano Berretta turned off NTDTV's broadcast to please the Chinese Communist regime, but Eutelsat has been using the excuse of a technical problem to cover up the real reason for its actions. Eutelsat also insisted that it did not have any transponders available on which to restore NTDTV's transmission. Now, since the BBG has withdrawn from the W5 satellite, Eutelsat has no excuses, and is legally obligated according to its contract to immediately restore NTDTV's signals on the vacated transponder.

NTDTV spokesperson Carrie Hung pointed out in an interview with The Epoch Times that RSF's new evidence once again exposes Eutelsat's lies. Eutelsat repeatedly claimed that it holds no prejudice against NTDTV, and it had to shut down NTDTV's broadcasts to China because of a technical reason. But evidence is continuously being revealed which shows that Eutelsat's so-called technical problem is nothing but an excuse. We therefore urge people from all walks of life and the international community to continue to exert pressure on Eutelsat.

Hung reiterated NTDTV's position: Eutlesat has violated its company charter, and also seriously harmed its credibility and long-term interests. It has not only deprived 1.4 billion Chinese people of the only window for access to truthful information, but also damaged the principles of freedom, equality, human rights and universal values. Hung called on governments of all democratic countries and people who value these principles to take immediate action and use various means to contact the media, politicians and Eutelsat's decision-makers, to request that Eutelsat's CEO Giuliano Berretta reverse his decision, and make sure that NTDTV's only free satellite window above China be open for as long as it should be. Hung said that to ensure truthful information's free flow into an autocratic society like China will not only help China and the Chinese people, but also be conducive to freedom around the world.

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