(Clearwisdom.net) In a major decision during a budget negotiation session, the Taiwan Legislative Yuan requested the Ministry of Transportation and Communication to urge Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) to provide bandwidth from its ST-2 satellite for broadcasting programs from NTD Television. So far, CHT has not complied with the decision to renew its contract with NTDTV. Edward McMillan-Scott, one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament responsible for democracy and human rights, wrote an open letter to Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou, hoping this incident can be “resolved quickly and fairly.”

NTDTV has been renting CHT’s ST-1 since August 2007. The contract ends August 9, 2011, and NTDTV wishes to renew it. CHT refused to continue renting the satellite to NTD Television, claiming the ST-2, which will be launched in August, does not have enough bandwidth.

In the letter Edward McMillan-Scott wrote to Taiwan’s President Ma, he said, “My colleagues in the European Parliament and I are eager for this matter to be resolved quickly and fairly, as we have unfortunately seen before that the Chinese regime has put pressure on broadcasting companies to end their coverage of New Tang Dynasty Television.” “I respectfully urge you to look into the matter and try to reach a solution that allows NTD to continue its valuable broadcasting to the Asian region using CHT satellites.”

Legislative Council Urges CHT to Renew Contract with NTD Television

The Keelung City Council unanimously passed a proposal on June 16 “to request the Ministry of Transportation and Communication to urge CHT to renew its contract with NTD Television and provide service of its ST-2 Satellite.”

The proposal to “request the Ministry of Transportation and Communication to urge CHT to renew its contract with NTD Television and provide service of its ST-2 Satellite” proposed by council member Chen Dong-Tsai

The head of the Keelung City Council Huang Ching-Tai commented on the proposal: “We hope the central authority respects freedom of speech and media like the members of Keelung City Council and demand CHT renew the contract with NTD TV. This guarantees people’s rights to information and protects freedom of speech and news media.”

Councilor Chang Fang-Li believes that CHT has been working with NTD for a long time and should not refuse to renew the contract. “CHT should think twice. The city and the Council strongly support CHT and NTD continuing their collaboration.”

“CHT should not try to discontinue the contract one-sidedly,” said Councilor Chen Dong-Tsai, “Everyone in the world should have freedom of news. The government should emphasis the issue. NTD is a global TV [network] and it is the law in our country to protect freedom of news workers.”

Hong Kong Legislative Members: We Hope NTD TV Continues to Shed Light on China

Member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council Andrew Cheng Kar Foo stresses that it is very important for NTD TV to continue its broadcasts to China, “Especially when 1.3 billion people live in a country without freedom of speech, NTD TV is a bright light.” “NTD TV’s voice of freedom is able to survive in China. It is worthy for us to continue to support it and to prevent China from becoming a place with a single voice.”

Members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council support NTD TV's broadcasts through ST-2 satellite and to continue to provide information to people in China. (left) Andrew Cheng Kar-Foo. (right) Kam Nai-wai.

Cheng believes that CHT’s technical issues should not be a problem that should stop NTD from broadcasting to China, especially with the modern technology. He worries that CHT’s real problem is the pressure from the Chinese Communist regime because the regime fears free news from overseas. “They (the Chinese regime) worry that voices from overseas may grow louder and more powerful in China and try to suppress those voices. They believe this is how the regime can rule the country forever.”

Cheng called on CHT to continue offer good-quality bandwidth to NTD so it can provide services to the Chinese people around the world. He also called on Taiwan authorities to not give up their foundations of freedom of speech and rule-by-law out of short-term economic interests. “It is not worth it. When you lose these foundations, all economic interests will become the privilege of a small group of people.”

Councilor Kam Nai-wai believes Taiwan authorities should protect the freedom of speech of independent media. “In China, one party dictates to the country and there are no different voices. Information from outside is very important for people in China.” Kam pointed out that many Chinese people around the world support NTD. “I hope Taiwan can look at this issue seriously and not yield to Beijing’s political pressure. We hate to see Taiwan sacrifice its freedom of speech.”