Eutelsat defends NTDTV position

Eutelsat is standing firm against accusations from NTDTV that the satellite operator came under pressure from the Chinese government to take the channel off the air. New Tang Dynasty Television has claimed Eutelsat removed it from the satellite because its coverage is out of step with the views of the Chinese authorities.

In a statement the Paris-based operator said it held no prejudice against NTDTV, which went off the air following an anomaly with the Eutelsat W5 satellite over the night of June 16 and 17. Problems with the satellite’s solar arrays led to the shut down of four of the satellite’s 24 transponders.

General Counsel Philippe McAllister pointed out that NTDTV continues to broadcast from its Hot Bird neighbourhood. “Eutelsat has no direct relationship with NTDTV, which procures its services from RR Sat, a worldwide operator of broadcast services. Our activity as an independent satellite operator gives us no authority or prerogative of control over the content transported by capacity leased by client broadcasters.”

The problem facing Eutelsat is that it had no back-up capacity available for the W5 satellite. So a list of operators that could provide alternative coverage was sent to RR Sat, the company, which provided broadcast, services to W5 clients that also included EuroNews and C-Music. EuroNews has subsequently announced additional capacity on the AsiaSat 2 satellite. C-Music is also making its own arrangements.