The National Union of Journalists (SNJ), the profession’s leading organization in France, demanded, on Saturday April 13, a “parliamentary investigation” into the takeover of the European continuous news channel Euronews by entities close to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, revealed by an investigation by European media, including Le Monde.

Investment fund Alpac Capital, headquartered in Portugal, acquired a majority stake in Euronews in July 2022, for approximately €170 million. The transaction was validated by the French Ministry of Finance, the chain, which is headquartered in Lyon, being a company under French law. The media sector is strategic. However, at least a third of the funds come from sources linked to the nationalist Viktor Orban.

“In June 2022, after six months, the Ministry of Finance validated the takeover of Euronews by Alpac Capital. The SNJ questions the investigation carried out by the ministry into the real origins of the funds, and calls for the opening of a parliamentary investigation,” writes the SNJ in a press release, which adds: “Two months before the European elections, the elected representatives of the French Republic must shed light on what happened. »

Mitigating “left bias”

The Hungarian Szechenyi Fund, under the supervision of a foundation chaired by the Hungarian Minister of Economy, Mihaly Varga, at the time of the transaction, made a contribution of 45 million euros, according to internal documents.

New Land Media, the main partner in communications operations of the Orban cabinet, has granted a loan of 12.5 million euros to a Hungarian subsidiary of Alpac Capital. According to a “strictly confidential” presentation, the operation aimed to mitigate “left-wing bias” in European media, with Euronews being “influential on EU policies.” When contacted, Mr. Orban’s press secretary, Bertalan Havasi, said the government was “not aware.”

In a statement, the management of Euronews declared “not to have knowledge of the details of the shareholding of the fund controlling the company” but disputes “any idea or suggestion of editorial interference”.

Launched in 1993 by around twenty European television channels, Euronews originally broadcast in fifteen languages ​​with 400 journalists. Providing information to more than 400 million households in 160 countries, it has undergone restructuring since 2020, including a halving of its size and a redeployment to Brussels.