European Parliamentary Officials Participate in Joint News Conference about the Forced Shutdown of NTDTV Broadcasts into China (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On July 15, 2008, NTDTV, Reporters Without Borders, the International Press Alliance, and Members of the European Parliament held a joint news conference. They condemned satellite company Eutelsat's termination of NTDTV broadcasts in Asia, particularly at this time right before the Beijing Olympics, and asked the European Union and the Government of France to put pressure on the French satellite company to comply with European human rights, democracy, and law, and to restore the NTDTV signal as soon as possible. Many officials in the European parliament and media participated in the conference.
NTDTV, Reporters Without Borders, International Press Alliance, and Members of European Parliament hold a joint news conference
Mr. Yves. Heman from NTDTV Belgium
Mr. Marc Gruber, director of the European branch of the International Press Alliance
Mr. Marco Cappato, Member of European Parliament from Italy
Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament
Ms. Helga Trupel, Chair of the Council of Education and Culture, member of the European Parliament delegation to China
Ms. Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament
First, Mr. Yves. Heman, the spokesman for NTDTV in Belgium, issued a statement rebuking Eutelsat for shutting down NTDTV's broadcast signals to Asia and claiming it was due to technical problems. Of particular note was a Reporters Without Borders investigation report, which was released last Thursday. It pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party has made Eutelsat violate the free flow of information. He said that it is a most urgent task for us to have the NTDTV signal resumed in China as soon as possible, especially with the approach of the Olympic Games. "The Chinese people really need the free flow of information that is not censored."
Mr. Marc Gruber, director of the European branch of the International Press Alliance, recalled that three years ago the International Press Alliance protested Eutelsat's attempt to cut off NTDTV's signal in China. This time, he noted, the situation is different from then, citing the current political situation against a backdrop of upcoming the Olympic Games.
The news conference was hosted by Mr. Marco Cappato, a Member of the European Parliament from Italy. He said, "I think that the European Union should issue a formal statement, putting pressure on Eutelsat in order to solve the so-called 'technical' problems." He added, "As of now, a letter signed by 50 MPs has been sent to the President of Eutelsat, asking for the resumption of the signal. This is only the beginning; we will be trying to formally address inquiries to the European Union about this matter."
Mr. Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice President of the European Parliament, said, "The Eutelsat company is headquartered in France, which is providing the current rotating president of the European Union. So it has an obligation to have its feet firmly planted in Europe, which is to put the philosophy of human rights, democracy, and law into practice. And it should encourage the free flow of information into China. The Government of France should put pressure on Eutelsat and have the NTDTV broadcast signal to mainland China resumed." Discussing China issues during the plenary session of the European Parliament held last Wednesday, Mr. McMillan-Scott specifically asked the Government of France to help reestablish the NTDTV signal as soon as possible.
Ms. Helga Trupel, MP from Germany, is the chair of the Council of Education and Culture, as well as a member of the European Parliament delegation to China. She has been to China four times in recent years. Ms. Trupel said, "Because of the Olympic Games, the CCP authorities promised to open China, allowing people to have more freedom and improving human rights. But now we have realized that everything it promised was false. The actual situation has become even worse. They control people, suppress them even more severely in their speech, and people have no freedom to air their own opinions." She asked for France to put pressure on Eutelsat and allow NTDTV, a free media, to be again broadcast into China.
Ms. Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Member of Parliament from Poland, is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. Being from a former communist country, she said she could really understand what it is like to live in an environment in which the media is controlled. She added, "The decision made by Eutelsat in Europe has resulted in hundreds of millions of Chinese losing their source of independent news. Economic interests cannot override human rights; we cannot accept this act of sacrificing an independent TV station to please the CCP regime."