Euronews journalists passed a no-confidence vote in the broadcasters’ management and adopted a statement saying that their media could no longer be seen as an independent and balanced voice.
An internet poll conducted on 6-7 December shows that out of 291 journalists and technicians at Euronews, 205 (70.4%) said they don’t trust the company’s management, and only 34 (11.7%) said they did. 52 expressed no opinion (17.9%).
The trade union Force Ouvrière adopted a statement saying that at the moment, Euronews is no longer an organisation with a European approach and with a European vision for its future, something that should be obvious for such a channel.
No right to criticise Turkey and Russia
A journalist from Euronews who asked not to be named told EurActiv.com that their media was no longer allowed to criticise Turkey following the failed 15 July coup and Russia’s assertive policy vis-à-vis neighbours and EU members.
In February 2015, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris bought a majority stake of 53% in Euronews, following a visit by Vladimir Putin to his country. The deal raised a number of questions over Euronews’ future editorial posture and its independence.
In recent days, reports surfaced of talks with US broadcaster NBC News, who plans to buy a 15% and 30% stake in Euronews. Sawiris still plans to remain the majority shareholder.
On 1 December, Commissioner Günther Oettinger received Deborah Turness, president of NBC News, in Brussels. The CEO of Euronews, Michael Peters, participated in the meeting and talks focused on the broadcaster, which benefits from an estimated €25 million in annual funding from the EU, but in which the Union is not a stakeholder. Oettinger is responsible for the digital economy and audiovisual.
In its statement, the trade union raises a number of questions to management, the first one being how it can justify the closure of the Ukrainian service in the actual context of tension between Kyiv and Moscow.
The Ukrainian service of Euronews was bought in March 2015 by Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, which led to the government in Kyiv banning the service for its suspected bias.