Europe’s largest satellite operator bows to pressure from Kremlin

Press conference on Wed 10th of February at 10.30 in room LOW N-1/201 (Strasbourg)

Under pressure from Russia, Eutelsat, the leading European satellite operator, has refused to transmit Perviy Kavkazskiy, the newly established Georgian satellite television channel in Russian language. [:]This sudden refusal leaves Intersputnik and Gazprom Media Group-both of which adhere to the Kremlin’s editorial line-with a de facto satellite tranmission monopoly over Russian-language audience in Russia and beyond.

This case of censorship is only the most recent accommodation of authoritarian regimes by Eutelsat. BBC’s Persian TV service (PTV), a popular channel amongst Iranian opposition supporters, was obliged to switch satellite by Eutalsat last year and it has similarly refused to continue to broadcast an independent Chinese TV channel.

MEP Heidi Hautala and other MEPs across party lines express their concern over weakening the protection of pluralist media in Europe as Eutelsat under pressure from China, Iran and now from Russia, agrees to cut out critical voices. It is of utmost importance in democratic society that airing of independent views is not impeded. We call the European Union to ensure that broadcasting of diverse views is guaranteed in Europe and beyond.

Press conference will take place in Strasbourg on Wednesday 10th of February at 10.30 in room LOW N-1/201.

Maia Bichikashvili, deputy Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Ekaterina Kotrikadze, head of the news departement of Pervyi Kavkazskyi, and Maître Henri d’Armagnac, the lawyer representing Perviy Kavkazskiy in Paris Trbinual case against Eutelsat will be present at the press conference and address the issue.