French Satellite Provider under Pressure to Remove Kurdish Med Nûçe TV

Update: 06 Dec 2018 Resolved
Year 03 Oct 2016 Country France Category Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
03 Oct 2016 France Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2

Eutelsat SA, the French satellite provider hosting over 6000 televisions channels, has notified its intention “to remove immediately” Med Nûçe TV, a Kurdish language television channel broadcasting from Belgium, from its transponder because “the content is not in line with public order directives of the terms between us as well as with the laws which regulate TV distribution in Europe and surrounding countries”. According to EFJ sources, Eutelsat SA has been put under pressure by RTÜK (Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council) to remove the signal of Med Nûçe TV considered as a pro-PKK television channel by Turkish authorities. It follows on the banning by Türksat, at the request of the Turkish government, of around 20 TV channels and radio stations under the state of emergency.

Resolved On 6 December 2018, considering the fact that the Paris Commercial Court has ordered Eutelsat to re-establish the broadcasting of the TV channel Med Nûçe, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

07 Jun 2017 : Eutelsat, following on a request received from the Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council, has notified on 14 April 2017 its intention to remove the signals of Channel News, Ronahi TV and Sterk TV, three television channels broadcasting from EU countries to Kurdish-speaking audience from its transponder because “the content in which statements are made by the leaders of the terrorist organisation called as PKK/KCK”. In an urgent notice sent to the Slovenian service provider STN, Eutelsat writes "you shall stop any transmission within one hour of request of Eutelsat (...) we hereby officially request that you remove the television channels 'Sterk TV and Ronahi TV' from the multiplex you operate in accordance with our agreement".
22 Nov 2016 : On 14 November 2016, the Paris Commercial Court ordered Eutelsat to re-establish the broadcasting of the TV channel Med Nûçe.
18 Nov 2016 : On 14 November 2016, the Paris Commercial Court condemned Eutelsat SA for removing the signal of Newroz TV, on 11 October 2016. The French satellite operator was ordered "to re-establish the broadcasting of programmes" under a penalty of 10.000 € per day of delay.
11 Oct 2016 : On 11 October 2016, Eutelsat removed the signal of Newroz TV, a Kurdish language television channel broadcasting from Sweden, after receiving a direct request from the Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council. Newroz TV is accused by the Turkish authorities of spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK). It is the second Kurdish TV channel to be dropped by Eutelsat in one week. On 3 October, the signal of Med Nûçe TV was also removed and the channel was no longer accessible to viewers.
03 Oct 2016 : On 3 October 2016, Eutelsat removed the signal of Med Nûçe TV and the channel is no longer accessible to viewers.

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On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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