Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Eutelsat

Delivered in Plenary - April 11th 2005

Mr President

I wish to protest at the decision of Mr Berretta, the chief executive officer of Eutelsat, to discontinue the contract for New Tang Dynasty Television, a US-based global channel that is the only free uncensored Chinese-language broadcaster to reach mainland China, much to the anger of the Communist government there. This termination allegedly followed commercial threats by the People’s Republic of China to withdraw the Beijing 2008 Olympic TV broadcasting contracts.

The EU, although understandably eager to trade with China, must not compromise on its commitment to fundamental human rights, which include freedom of expression and conscience and access to a free media. The matter is currently before the French courts, but I am sure that this House will join me in asking the President of this Parliament to write to Eutelsat demanding a full explanation of why it is breaking its own charter committed to upholding media freedom.