Constance Le Grip, a French Republican and vice president of the French National Assembly’s Cultural Affairs and Education Committee, sent a letter to Roch-Olivier Maistre, president of France’s Supreme Audiovisual Council (CSA), on March 9, expressing concern over the council’s recent announcement that it had approved the broadcast license application of China’s official media, the Global Television Network (CGTN). The letter expresses concern over the Commission’s recent announcement that it has approved the application of CGTN, the official Chinese television network, to regain broadcasting rights in France and Europe.
In his letter, Lecip recalled the events surrounding the revocation of CGTN’s license by Ofcom under British law in February, and the human rights concerns surrounding it, and asked the president of France’s Supreme Audiovisual Council (CSA), “I would like to ask you under what conditions and after what internal debate, if any, the March 3 decision on CGTN was made. debate (if any) was reached, and what level of vigilance the CSA will exercise over Chinese public television channels in respecting the fundamental rights of the rule of law and democratic pluralism in the political and geopolitical context we know of?” She also introduced it via Twitter on the 12th, stating, “I am writing to Chairman Meister of the CSA to express my concern about the Commission’s decision on the China Global Television Network, which will allow official Chinese Communist TV stations to continue broadcasting in Europe.”
Shortly thereafter, Meister responded via Twitter, saying, “Congresswoman, it is only natural that I would reply to you. But before waiting to reply, here is the press release issued by the CSA on March 3 related to this topic. I am certainly available to you.” The press release states, “As a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the withdrawal of the CGTN license by Ofcom under UK law, the head of CGTN approached the Commission with a request to certify its broadcasts as compliant with European law and French norms. the CSA granted it.” The press release states, “Since 2016, the CGTN channel has been broadcast in Europe via the satellite of the French operator Eutelsat. Until now, the channel has been under the jurisdiction of the British regulator Ofcom. As a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, on the one hand, and Ofcom’s withdrawal of its license for the channel under UK law, on the other, CGTN officials asked the CSA to confirm that the service is now under French jurisdiction and that European law applies.The CSA confirmed this interpretation.”
The press release states, “French law does not provide for broadcast authorizations or prior agreements for channels outside of Europe that are broadcast via satellite within French jurisdiction. These channels are free to broadcast without prior formalities, subject to the applicable French law on audiovisual communications.” The press release states, “They are therefore subject to the law of September 30, 1986 on freedom of communication, which prohibits incitement to hatred and violence and guarantees respect for human dignity as well as honesty, independence and pluralism of information. Serious violations of some of these principles have led the CSA to notify Eutelsat to stop broadcasting channels outside Europe. In accordance with its mandate, the CSA will pay particular attention to ensuring that CGTN ensures compliance with these legal requirements.”