While the editorial staff hoped to be preserved, concerns resurfaced at Euronews. The employees learned, Thursday, November 24, the sale of the premises of the pan-European news channel, a fluorescent green building located in the Confluence district, in Lyon. The question of a total or partial move will depend on the future buyer. According to our information, nothing has been decided at this stage.
This is a source of additional anxiety for many of the 500 employees of the television channel, who are worried about other recent decisions by their management. At the origin of the questions, an internal email sent, at the beginning of November, by Patrick Heery, the editor-in-chief of digital content at Euronews, in which he announced that subjects concerning Qatar (apart from those linked to the FIFA World Cup football) would henceforth be covered from the Doha office. “Having access to sources in the field, they are best placed to write the subjects”justifies Mr. Heery, arguing that “The priority is to focus on [la] European coverage ».
This choice irritates some of the editorial staff, because the employees of the channel’s office in Doha would not be trained to do “news”, but “magazine” subjects usually sponsored… by Qatar. It is this team that today produces rave reviews and advertorials on the Qatar 365 section of the channel’s French website, highlighting “highlighting Qatar’s actions and opportunities on the international scene”. We learn there “how Qatar protects its corals and strives to better manage fresh water »that its “food scene” extends ” traditional cuisine to digital innovations”or that its ” traditional music reinvents itself opening up to the world”.
Gradual divestment from the European Commission
Launched in 1993 by some twenty European channels, with the aim of responding to the American CNN, Euronews is majority owned, since July, to the Portuguese investment fund Alpac capital. With the gradual divestment of the European Commission, the company had to find new sources of private financing and in particular chose to turn to commercial contracts signed with several countries, including the Arab States of the Gulf.
After an agreement with the Emirati organization Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (Admic) in 2018, Euronews entered into a partnership with Media City Qatar in 2021 and with Saudi Arabia in 2022. In June, representatives of the National Syndicate of Journalists s were already moved by the broadcast of the program “Inspire Saudi”, related The letter a of June 14.
The management then promised a scrupulously respected seal between the magazines and the “news” editorial staff. If the union representatives of the company, which has been shaken by two social plans since 2017, did not wish to respond to the Worldseveral journalists are increasingly doubting the management’s promises.
“They drown the fish”
Questioned by about thirty employees on this subject, the editorial director, Peter Barabas, and Patrick Heery tried to reassure the troops, on November 7th. Facing the emotion of some of the employees, the management specified that in the event of an important story to be dealt with in Qatar, journalists could be sent from Lyon. In an email from Mr. Barabas dated November 18, he adds that information on human rights and the environment will be co-produced between Lyon and Doha.
Interview requests sent by The world to the bosses of the chain have remained a dead letter, but the latter assures internally that only misunderstandings are at the origin of the criticisms. “They drown the fish”criticizes a journalist, who wishes to remain anonymous.
The latter also deplores that, since 2018 – for lack of a candidate – Euronews no longer has a Society of Journalists, an organization allowing discussions between employees and management on editorial subjects. While a reorganization favoring digital is planned for January 2023, the possible sale of the building and editorial issues should be at the heart of discussions at the next general meeting, the date of which has not yet been set.