Letter: American satellite coverage of Gerry Adams

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Sir: Niall Meeban objected in your columns (letter, 5 February) to the 'censoring' of Gerry Adams by NBC Super Channel, and invited us to clarify our position. NBC Super Channel, like all European satellite broadcasters, is regulated both by the European Directive on Broadcasting (Television Without Frontiers) and by the legislation of the country from which its transmissions are 'uplinked' to the satellite covering the European market. NBC Super Channel uplinks from the UK to the Eutelsat 2 F1 satellite, and is licensed to this effect by the ITC as a 'non-domestic satellite service'.

On this basis, the programme content of NBC Super Channel's broadcasts are governed essentially by the same legislation which governs the programming of the BBC, ITV, BSkyB and other satellite broadcasters whose signals for Europe originate from the UK. The exclusion of the words of Gerry Adams was therefore required under the conditions of NBC Super Channel's licence - and given the live nature of the broadcasts was carried out with intelligence and skill.

On the substantive issue of censorship, NBC Super Channel considers that any form of censorship in a democracy is unacceptable in principle and unworkable in practice.

Yours faithfully,

PATRICK COX

Chairman

NBC Super Channel

London, E14

10 February

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