March 15, 2015
There are serious reasons to believe that Euronews, perceived by millions in the world as “the television of the European Union”, is becoming the voice of Moscow. Or the next Sputnik, the latest multi-lingual news service operated by the Russian government.
First, Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian billionaire who has taken a 53% stake in Euronews, says the TV channel should resist pressure from European politicians calling for western media outlets to provide a counterweight to Kremlin propaganda.
Press articles in Ukraine already announced that Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainan oligarch who awaits extradition for the USA on bribery and other charges, has decided to buy the Ukrainian service of Euronews. Firtash was arrested in March 2014 in Austria under US charges, then was released after being ordered to pay the bail of €125m, the largest in Austrian legal history. But he must stay in Vienna.
In a very recent interview for (guess who?) Euronews, Firtash expresses his political views, of which Putin is very likely to be fully supportive.
According to people familiar with the Ukrainian context, Firtash may even be the real owner of Euronews, or soon be in control. I assume he likes media, because he spends billions on them.
It is also very likely that Firtash will be extradited to the USA in the next months. Not every defendant has an international TV channel, but the world is unjust by definition.