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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Intelsat switched off LTTE ‘s National Television of Tamil Eelam from their satellite

By Walter Jayawardhana

Washington, 24 April, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka’s envoy in Washington DC said his office had been informed by Washington based Intelsat Corporation that they have switched off the transponder used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to broadcast its National Television of Tamil Eelam (NTT) last weekend.Intelsat switched off National Television of Tamil Eelam (NTT)  from their satelliteIntelsat switched off National Television of Tamil Eelam (NTT) from their satellite

“We were told last evening by Intelsat executive Phillip Spector that the transponder used by the LTTE was switched off during the weekend,” Bernard Goonetileke , Washington DC’s Sri Lankan Ambassador told this correspondent.

But however , Goonetileke said he was still not sure whether the banned terrorist group has made some other arrangements with an European satellite company to carry on with the broadcasts continually.

He said inquiries are made to check whether LTTE is continuing its broadcasts and whether they are doing it through another channel, of any European company.

A press release issued by the Washington DC embassy of Sri Lanka said, “Intelsat Ltd., a U.S. based satellite company has terminated the “unauthorized” use of one of its satellites, Intelsat12, by the Sri Lanka based terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), for its TV and radio transmissions to Europe and Asia”

The Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Intelsat Ltd., Mr. Phillip Spector, confirmed to Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC, that Intelsat Ltd., had, over the April 21/22 weekend, shut down the transponder, which the LTTE had used for its transmissions, according to an Embassy press release.

Following the meeting with Ambassador Goonetileke on April 10, 2007, Mr. Phillip Spector of Intelsat Ltd., stated that the LTTE transmissions were “unauthorized.” Countering the position taken by Intelsat Ltd., speaking from Sri Lanka’s north to wire services in Colombo, the LTTE denied it was using the satellite services illegally. “We are accessing it legally and there is no signal piracy,” said an LTTE spokesman.

The embassy press statement traced the history of the LTTE-INTELSAT connection as follows: “Since March 2005, the LTTE had been transmitting TV and radio programs through Europe Star 1 satellite owned by French satellite provider Alcatel. PanAmSat, a satellite operator headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut in the U.S., acquired Europe Star 1 satellite in July 2005. In July 2006, Intelsat Ltd., acquired PanAmSat, following which, Europe Star 1 satellite was renamed Intelsat12. The programs that the LTTE had been transmitting through Europe Star 1, thus continued uninterrupted even after Intelsat Ltd., acquired the satellite.”

The clandestine transmission of the National Television of Tamil Eelam was initially pointed out by “Asian Tribune,” followed by Sri lanka’s Embassy in France taking up the matter with the Intelsat officials in Paris when they came to attend a telecommunication international conference.

Later the clandestine transmission was brought to the notice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which directed Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington to take up the issue with Intelsat Ltd., the Washington based satellite Communication Company. Subsequently due to the intense pressure jointly exerted by Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Washington, US State Department and the Department of Justice together with press publicity that adversely effected the Intelsat forced Intelsat Ltd., To bring an end to the pirate transmission of the National Television of the Tamil Eelam.

- Asian Tribune -

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