Officials Call on Taiwan to Continue NTD AP Service

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Since 2007, NTD's partner in Taiwan, NTD AP, has been broadcasting independent programming to the Asia Pacific region. NTD AP's satellite broadcasts can reach southern China, providing uncensored information in an otherwise tightly controlled media environment. Now, its Taiwanese satellite carrier, Chunghwa Telecom Company, is refusing to extend their contract. Government officials in the US, Taiwan and Hong Kong are calling on the Taiwan government--a major shareholder in Chunghwa--to uphold freedom of speech by letting NTD AP's broadcasts continue.

Calls are mounting on Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom to renew its satellite contract with our partner in Taiwan, NTD AP. Taiwan's government is the main shareholder of the telecom company, and there are concerns the decision to cut service with NTD AP is hurting Taiwan's democratic advances.

On Tuesday U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher wrote to Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou about the case. Rohrabacher is concerned about the service termination and says Taiwan should encourage freedom and the spread of ideas across the Taiwan Strait.

Rohrabacher is a founder of the Taiwan Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. He says NTD AP relies on Chunghwa to broadcast to Taiwan and China news the Chinese regime does not want the people to hear. Rohrabacher told Ma, (quote) "If Taiwan does not support the struggle for freedom of thought within China, I see no need for America to support Taiwan."

NTD AP's contract with Chunghwa will end in August. Chunghwa said in April that a satellite changeover means it won't have the capacity for NTD AP anymore.

Many, including Taiwan legislator Tien Chiu-chin, have rejected that explanation.