Eutelsat agrees to drop Russian channels after watchdog rules

Eutelsat has agreed to stop broadcasting three Russian channels after regulator Arcom responded to a ruling from France’s highest court and ordered the satellite operator to drop the channels.

Following a ruling from the Conseil d’État instructing Arcom to look again at the issue, the regulator switched from its earlier position of non-intervention and ordered Eutelsat to cease distribution of channels Rossiya 1, Perviy Kanal and NTV.

The watchdog said that the three channels disseminated “repeated incitation to hate and violence” as well as numerous falsehoods concerning Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Arcom accepted in this instance that it was “apparent” that the channels were “distributed not only in Russia but also in the Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia”. Since Ukraine had signed and ratified the European trans-frontier television convention, it said that it “had a judicial basis to order Eutelsat to cease distribution of these channels”.

Eutelsat acknowledged the ruling and said it would comply.

“Eutelsat confirms that according to its policy of systematically implementing Arcom’s decisions, it will no longer be involved in the broadcasting of the three sanctioned channels within the prescribed time-frame,” the company said in a brief statement.

The three offending channels are carried as part of the NTV+ and Tricolor pay TV bouquets – both significant DTH customers of Eutelsat.

The ruling and compliance represent a victory for advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières, who initially pursued the case with Arcom and subsequently appealed to the Conseil d’État when the regulator declined to take action.

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