In a statement published by Le Monde, the company said: “Eutelsat has always adopted a position of neutrality and respects the decisions of the regulatory authorities on which it depends. At this stage, no regulator or other competent authority has asked us to stop the broadcasting of NTV-Plus and Tricolor in Russia”, adding that the foreign channels which have been withdrawn from the Russian bouquets are visible in the clear in Russia through its Hotbird satellites.
Eutelsat continued by saying that after learning on May 5 of “the European Union’s intention to sanction three Russian channels in the near future, two of which are broadcast on [its] satellites”, RTR Planeta and Rossiya 24, it”stands ready to do so immediately cease dissemination as soon as the corresponding European regulation is published”. Eutelsat recalls that it cut off the RT France signal as soon as the sanctions against various Russian interests were formalised on March 1.
Eutelsat also said it has taken note of the requests of the Denis Diderot Committee, an organisation created in March this year by the media experts André Lange and Jim Phillipoff, the latter being the founder of the Ukrainian satellite platform XTra TV. As previously reported by Broadband TV News, it drew up a petition last month calling on the EU to sanction the distribution of NTV-Plus and Tricolor on Eutelsat.
Speaking to Broadband TV News, André Lange said: “We have already answered to the Eutelsat argument after the statement by Mrs Berneke, (Eutelsat) CEO in the Danish newspaper Radar Media.https://www.denisdiderot.net/berneke We think that the argument is right from the legal point of view. In our report (published on April 5) we were already indicating that Eutelsat S.A. as a common carrier does not have the possibility to act by itself.
“Nevertheless, as various Danish newspapers have underlined, Mrs Berneke has some moral responsibility not to have act for obtaining the regulations needed to clean the situation. See the various articles in https://denisdiderot.net/reactions The fact that Eutelsat S.A. cannot act by itself is the reason why our petition was directed mainly to the EU, and in particular to President Macron as President of the Council of the European Union, with the idea that the EU could take sanctions as it did with RT/Sputnik. Now France could also act through a possible decision of the ARCOM, the new regulatory authority.
“In the case of TV channels broadcast from countries outside of the EU or of the European Convention of Transfrontier Televisions signatories, channels from third countries are under the jurisdiction of the country of the satellite transmitting them, so, in this case France. There is a meeting today (Wednesday, May 11) of the EPRA (the platform of national regulatory authorities) in Antwerp where both the Ukrainian Council and France’s Arcom will be represented and will probably discuss the issue off the record.
“Our analysis is that if France does not take the decision by itself, then probably some other EU countries will move at the level of the EU to push for a decision.
“As for the fact that international news channels are FTA on Hotbird satellite, we argue that the main, key position is 39 degrees East. To say that the channels are on Hotbird is a bit like saying to a dentist in Vladivostok that the international press is accessible at the Moscow Metropole hotel”.