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Journalists demand investigation of Euronews takeover
 18 Apr 2024
A joint investigation by Hungarian, French and Portuguese media published last week revealed a direct link between entities close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and company Alpac Capital, a Portuguese investment fund, which acquired Euronews TV channel in 2022. The takeover was approved by the French government as Euronews, previously headquartered in Lyon, was a company incorporated under French law. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) back the call of their French affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), for the opening of a parliamentary inquiry aimed at shedding light on the origins of the funds used to buy Euronews.

The investigation published on April 11 by a European media consortium, including French newspaper Le Monde, Portuguese newspaper Expresso and Hungarian media outlet Direkt36, recently revealed that at least a third of the takeover funds comes from sources linked to Viktor Orbán and government-related actors. According to confidential leaked documents, the transaction involved the Hungarian PR company New Land Media known for overseeing Viktor Orbán government’s propaganda campaigns, which contributed to a fundraising specifically set up by Alpac Capital to finance the takeover. Its CEO, Portuguese businessman Pedro Vargas Santos David, is known to have close personal and business ties to Hungarian’s government.

Euronews takeover occurred in July 2022 after the French Ministry of Finance gave the green light to the investment fund Alpac Capital to buy the European news channel for 170 million euros. Following the transaction, Euronews journalists suffered a massive redundancy plan, with the departure of 175 employees out of 370. The channel then moved its headquarters from Lyon to Brussels in 2024.

The French union SNJ is questioning the investigation carried out by the ministry into the real origins of the funds and calls for the opening of a parliamentary investigation: ”With two months to go before the European elections, the elected representatives of the French Republic have a duty to shed light on what happened. Let’s not let the alliance of interests between Hungarian nationalists and soft-power financiers dictate the terms of the European democratic debate,” said the SNJ.
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