Brussels, 06.11.2020 Anna van Densky OPINION The strangling of Freedom of speech policy of increasingly authoritarian Turkey at home, in the European Union and across globe, preventing 400 million audience of the EURONEWS to receive an objective coverage of the events concerning Ankara actions, is paradoxically rooted in the EU public funds being abused by Turkish government and used for the purpose, opposite to its original concept.
Unfortunately, the European Commission continues to subsidise EURONEWS TV Channel in spite of the fact that Turkey is in all structures, aggressively opposing and blocking the adequate news coverage.
Even previously, in the 2019 report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has underlined that EURONEWS is “not a public service broadcaster in any member state”, and analysing a total of €122M of funding for the channel from 2014-2018, concluded that the Commission “does not have a system to verify whether EURONEWS is achieving the objectives agreed in the partnership agreements.”
Today the European Commission has confirmed the continuation of subsidising Euronews TV, regardless Ankara opposition of freedom of speech – core value of the EU, and the fact of incarceration of more than 200 Turkish journalists.
Apparently, following the answer of the European Commission spokesperson they had no mechanism foreseen to freeze the payments.
Needless to say, that being in EURONEWS editorial Turkish broadcaster TRT uses their right to veto all the unflattering information about their country, preventing the global audiences to access to the information of tremendous significance, alerting public about Turkish actions alike supporting Muslim Brotherhood, defined a terrorist organisation by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.
Not least crucial is information of transfer of 2 000 jihad fighters from Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh by Turkey, reported by some media, but denied by Ankara. However at present it is impossible to deliver objective coverage of conflict taking place in Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan in spite of the generous subvention to EURONEWS, because Turkish editorial is there to block it.
On top of using the channel to condemn the freedom of speech policy of the EU member-states in the articles of the Turkish editorial, Ankara earns from EURONEWS, being a shareholder, while the EU citizens pay tens of millions yearly to ensure the channel function, they supply profit to Turkish oppressive state which cashes on TV advertising.
Obviously when in February 2009, the Turkish public broadcaster TRT became a shareholder of the channel and joined its supervisory board, the context was different, and there were no major objection for Ankara to joint the team. The same year the TRT purchased 15.70% of the channel’s shares and became the fourth main partner after France Télévisions (23.93%), RAI (21.54%), and VGTRK (16.94%). Turkish was added as the ninth language service in January 2010 as a result of this purchase.
The EURONEWS TV channel was established in 1993 by ten European public broadcasters to “reinforce European identity and integration” and the EU has provided it with a generous financial support since then. In recent years, the channel has changed its ownership structure by acquiring private investors.
February 2015, the channel’s executive board approved a bid by Media Globe Networks, owned by Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris, to acquire a 53% controlling stake in the media outlet. Already then the deal raised questions over EURONEWS’ future editorial policies and independence. (Image below: EURONEWS building in Lyon, France).