Despite the recently introduced European Union restrictions on the Tigers, LTTE TV has planned to expand its international coverage.
The Paris based channel, aka National Television of Thamil Eelam (NTT), is believed to have concluded negotiations with Eurostar, a major European satellite services provider, in this regard. Under this agreement the daily telecast time would be increased to one and half hours effective next Friday, in time for the live broadcast of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran`s `Heroes Day` speech.
This comes amidst stepped up LTTE activity in EU countries in the backdrop of the hotly contested decision to place a visit ban on LTTE delegations from the northern and eastern provinces. The EU also warned that the group would be banned unless it adhered with the Oslo-brokered Cease-fire Agreement. The propaganda broadcasts cover both Asia and Europe. The Paris based Tamil Television Network relays the daily broadcast, originating from a secret location in the LTTE-held Vanni, to its audiences in Europe.
Observers claimed that the EU action was not having any tangible effect on LTTE operations in EU member states.
The LTTE is believed to have secured the required equipment during Ranil Wickremesinghe`s two-year tenure as Prime Minister and launched satellite broadcasts in late March this year with a daily 15-minute broadcast. The services were extended to South East Asia in early August to cover India, parts of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma and China.
The Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) is yet to take action in this regard. The Island learns that TRC is unable to interfere with the operation as the LTTE has secured a direct link to Eurostar satellite facilities, a major European satellite services provider. Government regulations prohibit broadcasts without approval. The TRC remains the sole authority.