Euronews, a rolling news channel partly funded by the European Union, has been accused of broadcasting “sponsored” propaganda for oppressive regimes.
Journalists at the channel, which receives a third of its funding from the EU, have backed a no-confidence motion against their management, accusing the station of “flagrant violation of journalistic ethics”.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that states such as Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have paid the news channel to send teams to produce short profiles of their countries that are notably free from any criticism of the governments.
Some journalists have even accused the channel of failing to criticise the Turkish government after the failed coup there this year.
Workers staged a one-day strike after passing the no-confidence motion, in the same week it emerged U.S. broadcaster NBC was in negotiation to buy a stake of up to 30 per cent in the channel.
The network broadcasts in 13 languages including Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian, and has faced increasing questions over its independence and reliability.
A report by the European Parliament last year said there were “growing concerns about the independence – or alleged lack thereof – of Euronews” in its reporting of Russian intervention in Ukraine.
It has also been criticised for teaming up with the oppressive government of the Republic of Congo to launch Africanews, a pan-African news service.
The European Commission, which last year gave the channel €24.7 million of EU taxpayer money, distanced itself from the network, with spokeswoman Nathalie Vandystadt saying: “The Commission has no relation with those programmes.”
“The (Commission’s) contract with Euronews protects the channel’s independence and editorial freedom, and as such it is totally unfounded and unfair to state that the EU funding qualifies as ‘propaganda’,” she added.
Breitbart reported in May how the channel was accused of publishing a misleading headline that turned a Palestinian terrorist into a victim.
The terrorist drove a car into three soldiers in the West Bank, but the channel’s headline read: “Israeli troops shoot dead driver of rammed car”.
Following complaints, the channel amended the headline to read “Israeli troops shoot dead driver who rammed car into soldiers”, although still neglected to call the driver a terrorist.