Reporters Without Borders Cites PRC Pressure in Eutelsat Decision to Halt NTDTV Broadcasts

April 10, 2005

Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat has refused to renew the contract under which New Tang Dynasty TV(NTDTV) broadcasts to China using Eutelsat satellites, according to a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) press release. RSF alleges that the Eutelsat decision was the result of "pressure from Beijing." At least one Chinese official has accused NTDTV of being "a propaganda tool" for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, warning Chinese viewers to avoid watching NTDTV broadcasts. RSF has reported in the past about Chinese government attempts to interfere with NTDTV's broadcasts:

  • On January 18, 2005, an RSF report said that the Chinese embassy in Ottawa had revoked visas issued to two Canadian journalists working for NTDTV who wished to cover Prime Minister Paul Martin's visit to China.
  • On May 24, 2004, citing financial and political pressure from the Chinese government, RSF reported that NTDTV's contract with satellite operator New Skies Satellites for Asia transmission was not renewed.
  • RSF also has reported that Philippine satellite operator Mabuhay cancelled plans to transmit a special NTDTV Chinese New Year broadcast after the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines intervened, and that in February 2003, U.S. operator Atlanta ADTH backed away from an agreement in principle to carry NTDTV because Atlanta ADTH feared losing contracts to carry Chinese channels.

On December 4, 2004 Eutelsat issued a press release stating that Skylogic, the broadband affiliate of Eutelsat, and ChinaSatcom had signed what it called "an historic partnership agreement for two-way satellite communications between China and Italy for businesses, government agencies and other users in both countries." According to the State Council's Official Reply Regarding Questions Relating to the Establishment of China Satellite Communications Corp., China’s central government administers ChinaSatcom, which was established with assets of the former Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.