Last week, the Portuguese investment fund Alpac Capital announce To reach an agreement to buy 88 percent of the shares euronews, a TV and news site available in different languages and in most European countries. Agreement accepted with some caution In European circles: Alpac Capital has extensive relations with Hungary and with many people close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is known among other things for severely restricting press freedom in his country.
said Agnes Orban, media expert and director of the Hungarian think tank Myrtec Media Monitor Politico Bought by Alpac Capital euronews “It has no commercial meaning,” but it is a “political investment.” The fear is that Orbán wants to influence the editorial choices of one of the few, if not the only, media outlets throughout Europe that operates journalism.
euronews In 1993 by the European Broadcasting Union, a consortium of European television sets that predated the birth of the European Union and still had a small stake in euronews. Its TV channels, available in the major European languages, are free to access via satellite and on YouTube (World Health Organization You can watch the live broadcast of the channel in Italian). It is based in Lyon, France, and despite some economic difficulties in recent years, it has maintained a very strong presence within European institutions and in some countries of the Balkan Peninsula, also thanks to significant European funding.
Between 2014 and 2018, it received funds from the European Commission totaling 122 million euros and currently has a service contract until 2023.
Be the CEO of a company euronewsMichael Peters, a spokesperson for Alpac Capital, denied that the new owners would influence the editorial choices of euronews.
However, concerns about the future independence of the channel and site do not appear to be unfounded. The investment fund Alpac has deep roots in Hungary, with its headquarters in Budapest, and has previously received funding from large Hungarian state-owned companies, such as energy company MLOL, and large private companies such as OTP Bank and technology company 4iG.
The Alpac Fund’s links to Hungary include Orbán himself.
Mario David, father of Alpac CEO Pedro Vargas David, was a personal advisor to Orbán, whom he had known since David was elected to the European Parliament with the Social Democratic Party, Portugal’s main centre-right party. In 2016, Urban gave Mario David a public honor, calling him Hungary’s “true friend”.
Pedro Vargas David’s links to Urban aren’t entirely clear, but they do exist. Radio Free Europe he wrote That David owns 5.25 percent of the stock in 4iG, whose owner, Gellert Gassai, is very close to Orbán.
It has always been clear that Orbán has a strategy to promote his interests through foreign media: people close to him control both. V4 . Agency is being remix newsAnd Two English-language news websites often promote far-right content and are very sympathetic to the Hungarian government.
“Orbán is notorious for buying the media and then influencing her editorial line,” he said to Politico German Member of Parliament Daniel Freund, elected with the Greens: “The purchase of Euronews by a company with direct ties to the Hungarian Prime Minister is worrisome.”
internal source a euronews . said Politico What Pedro Vargas David recently spoke to some of my staff euronews He stressed that he did not intend to interfere in the editorial line.
More favorable treatment towards Orbán and his government could have dire consequences especially in the Balkans, where Hungary has long sought to increase its influence and where euronews It follows completely. «Theoretically, the editorial line of euronews Serbia It can change if the head office also changes”, He said a Balkan Inchette Bojan Bricic, Director euronews Serbia: “But that will not happen. I was in Lyon last week and received new assurances, even if I didn’t need them, that there would be no change in the editorial line.
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