Eutelsat denies Kremlin killed new Russian

February 3, 2010

Website: Rapid TV News

Eutelsat, no sooner out of the Chinese hot water, is back in trouble, this time with the Russians.

Eutelsat has allegedly stopped carrying Pervyy Kavkazskiy, a TV channel broadcasting from Georgia that is depicted as the first Russian-language channel in the Caucasus not to be under Kremlin control.

Eutelsat insists it has not stopped transmissions. Eutelsat said it had broadcast the channel for the trial period of a week which began and ended on the agreed dates and that it was now awaiting the signing of a contract to resume broadcasting.

“From our point of view there’s no reason not to sign a contract with them,” Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O’Connor told Agence France Presse, adding that broadcasts would resume as soon as the contract was signed.

However, that’s not the way the story is being carried in Georgia.

Eutelsat has put itself “at the service of Russian censorship”, said Pervyy Kavkazskiy, in a statement carried by AFP. The channel said Intersputnik had signed a contract to provide satellite television services for Gazprom Media, a subsidiary of the Russian gas giant that is closely controlled by the Kremlin.

“After it signed a major contract with Russian satellite company Intersputnik on 15 January, Eutelsat decided to stop broadcasting Pervyy Kavkazskiy, a Russian-language Caucasus channel,” the statement added.

The Eutelsat spokeswoman added that Intersputnik had been one of the operator’s clients for several years and the recently announced agreement merely prolonged existing arrangements.


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