Eutelsat defends his neutrality in broadcast of Russian television channels

A committee requests the closure of two Russian bouquets disseminated by the operator’s satellites.

by (with AFP)

Cess the diffusion of the bouquets of Russian tricolor and NTV-Plus accused of fueling pro-Puttine propaganda. This is what the Diderot committee, an organization created in March 2022 by two media experts, is asking Eutelsat, André Lange and Jim Phillipoff, the latter being founder of the Ukrainian satellite platform XTRA TV. After launching an online petition on April 5, the Committee sent, on May 7, on the occasion of the nomination of Emmanuel Macron, a letter to the French president in which he “is surprised that chains [Russians ] whose regular remarks exceed the limits of freedom of expression defined in international treaties continue to be transmitted by satellites properties of the company Eutelsat (…) for the benefit of its two Russian customers NTV-Plus and Tricolor “. France is the first shareholder of Eutelsat, with 20 % of its capital held by Bpifrance.

NTV-Plus, a subsidiary of Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, and Tricolor are broadcast in Russia by the 36 B satellite, operated by Eutelsat, and its cousin 36 C, rented by the French operator. If Eutelsat ceased their dissemination, the place could be reallocated to Western channels, like CNN and BBC World, prohibited from broadcasting in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine, proposed the Committee. These two satellites irrigate 25 % to 30 % of the Russian territory.

comply with the law

Eutelsat, which achieves approximately 8 % of its annual turnover with Russian customers, has learned of the Diderot Committee requests. But the satellite operator says he complies with the law. “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 asked us to stop the dissemination of NTV-Plus and Tricolor in Russia”, explains Eutelsat, who specifies that the foreign channels which have been removed from the Russian bouquets are visible in clear in Russia through his Hotbird satellites.

After having read on May 5 of “the intention of the European Union to soon sanction three Russian channels, two of which are broadcast on [his] satellites”, RTR Planeta and Rossiya 24, Eutelsat “holds ready to Immediately put an end to the dissemination upon publication of the corresponding European regulation “. The operator recalls having cut the signal from RT France as soon as the sanctions are formalized against various Russian interests on the 1 er Mars.

The group, which presents itself as a “technical platform”, fears that a break in its neutrality opens the way to multiple requests for intervention not responding to the regulatory framework. The Diderot committee also recognizes that the ball is now in the camp of the authorities.

/Media reports.