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EU quizzes Eutelsat on failure to transmit private Chinese TV
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  • BRUSSELS, Aug 18 (AFP) Aug 21, 2008
    The European Commission has sought an explanation from a European satellite operator as to why a private Chinese channel's signal has not been broadcast for two months, an EU spokesman said Thursday.

    "We are aware of the matter and (EU Telecoms) Commissioner Viviane Reding has written to Eutelsat to ask it what exact is going on," the spokesman said.

    Employees of Chinese-language New Tang Dynasty TV have protested at their New York headquarters and in European capitals against the interruption of their signal to Asia.

    Paris-based Eutelsat, one of the world's three main satellite operators, said last month that the loss of the signal was due to a technical problem on one of its satellites.

    The company denied any prejudice against NTDTV, which calls itself the only free Chinese television channel.

    NTDTV had not explored alternative solutions with Eutelsat rivals, the satellite operator added then.

    The European Commission spokesman said Thursday: "We've written to them to find out whether this was just a technical problem."

    NTDTV official Jenny Fang said the transmission cut had "deprived millions of Chinese viewers of the only Chinese channel not linked to the Communist regime.

    "The technical explanation isn't valid. There is now available space on the satellite but Eutelsat hopes to sign contracts with the Chinese government and so has succumbed to pressure," Fang told reporters in Brussels.

    Reporters Without Borders has also protested the Eutelsat explanation.

    "Many elements leave one to think that the suspension of NTDTV, a channel often decried by the Chinese government for its programmes on the human rights situation in China, is not due merely to a technical problem," the journalists' group said Monday, calling for the immediate resumption of transmission to Asia.

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