The international NGO Reporters Without Borders is challenging in court the decision of the French television broadcasting regulator Arcom, which allowed the French satellite operator Eutelsat to continue broadcasting the Russian TV channels Rossiya-1, Channel One and NTV, Bloomberg reports .
As Christophe Deloir, director of Reporters Without Borders, said, “It is extremely regrettable that Arcom has refused to take a principled stand in the fight against propaganda and support for journalism. Reporters Without Borders is asking the State Council to declare its decision illegal."
Earlier, in September, the regulator promised to consider the reporters' request to ban three propaganda channels from broadcasting via Eutelsat satellites. However, on September 28, a conclusion was published: there are no legal grounds for the ban, since the channels are also broadcast via other satellites, which means that France is not the only source of their broadcast. In addition, the issue does not affect EU citizens much, since the audience of the channels is predominantly Russian.
In today's statement, Reporters Without Borders re-emphasized that Eutelsat is registered in France, and that these channels are also available in the Baltic countries that are part of the EU, as well as in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Eutelsat CEO Eva Bernecke continues to insist that the operator remains "neutral":
“As soon as Arcom informs us about the ban on the broadcast of the channel, it will be terminated. We have already implemented similar resolutions on 10 channels that were previously broadcast,” Ms. Bernecke assured on November 22.
An Arcom spokesperson confirmed the information about the lawsuit filed with the Council of State (France's highest administrative court).
As The Insider wrote earlier , Reporters Without Borders demanded that the French broadcasting regulator (Arcom) ban the French satellite operator Eutelsat from broadcasting the signal of the main Russian state channels. According to the organization, Eutelsat plays a critical role in spreading Kremlin propaganda, reaching more than 15 million homes in European Russia, or half of Russia's TV audience. Reporters Without Borders was guided by the findings of an investigation by a human rights group.
Broadcasting from satellites is carried out on about 15 million dishes of two providers: Tricolor and NTV +. These two Eutelsat customers carry over 300 TV channels and 50 radio stations. In addition to the Russian Federation, they are broadcast in the occupied territories of Ukraine and even in Europe: subscribers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can get access to them "under the counter".
In addition to satellite broadcasting services for domestic Russian consumption, Eutelsat also provides open broadcasting of six Russian channels, in particular RT Arabic, in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
According to human rights activists, the actions of Eutelsat, which provides technical assistance to the apparatus of Russian propaganda for war and genocide, are morally unacceptable and contradict the strategic alliance of France and Europe with Ukraine.