French court probes satellite shutdown of Chinese TV

2nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French court is looking into whether European satellite operator Eutelsat decided to pull the plug on broadcasts by a Chinese-language TV station for political reasons.

Eutelsat suspended broadcasts across Asia of the independent NTDTV (New Tang Dynasty TV) on June 16, 2008, citing technical problems.

But the company that runs the TV station, UCN, has provided evidence suggesting that politics were a factor in the decision to suspend the broadcasts ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

"There are credible allegations... that Eutelsat did not chose to suspend (broadcasts) for economic reasons as claimed but for political reasons," said the ruling issued on June 30 but released to AFP on Friday.

A court-appointed expert is to look at the criteria that led to Eutelsat's decision and consider the financial consequences of halting the broadcasts.

The New York-based TV station has links to the Falungong movement, a foe of Beijing, according to Reporters Without Borders, and began broadcasting in Chinese four years ago, providing coverage of human rights issues including repression in Tibet.

© 2010 AFP

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