85% of euronews employees approve no-confidence motion.
Alpac: a threat to press freedom in Europe.
The employees of euronews have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion of no confidence in the management and majority shareholder Alpac Capital.
All employees of euronews SA were invited to vote on the motion of no confidence in management and the shareholder, a free and symbolic vote. 60% of voters cast their ballots.
The motion was approved by 85% of those voting; 5% were against and 10% voted “abstain”.
The reasons for a complete breakdown of trust
There are many reasons why employees have lost confidence in their management and shareholders, and the conclusion is clear:
Alpac Capital is a danger to press freedom in Europe.
Alpac has systematically betrayed employees’ trust since its arrival on 29 June 2022.
1 – Employees have no information about the company and the group that owns Euronews SA. Who owns the capital of the European Future Media Investment Fund, the main shareholder in the Euronews SA holding company? Is it a natural person or a legal entity? This lack of transparency is not conducive to employee confidence, particularly in a news medium.
2 – The Euronews editorial steering committee, on which two journalists elected by the ETUC must sit, has only met once in a year. At this single meeting on 2 May 2023, no substantive issues were discussed. This committee had been presented by management as a “novelty in the governance of the company” on 3 November 2022.
3 – On 7 July 2023, having just been appointed, the managing director, ex-journalist Guillaume Dubois, announced his plan to entrust “entirely” to “an Artificial Intelligence” the translation of subjects decided by the future central editorial staff in Brussels. At a time when citizens are sceptical about the media, we urgently need to think about the use and supervision of AI tools in newsrooms. A few weeks ago, the erroneous transcription and machine translation of statements by two representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the middle of a conflict, could have been broadcast around the world in several languages.
4 – To date, despite our repeated requests over several months, the editorial management has never sent us the rules governing the display of sponsored programmes on air and on our digital platforms. What confidence can we have in editorial management that is incapable of providing rules for separating sponsored programmes from the news?
5 – During coverage of the World Cup in Qatar, journalists suggested a number of features on Qatar. The management of the newsroom replied that any such stories would not be produced by the Lyon newsroom but by the euronews office in Qatar, which is financed by Qatar.
6 – Since the arrival of Alpac, and without waiting for the redundancy plan, some forty journalists have left under a transfer clause. A situation reminiscent of the bloodletting at the JDD when the new managing editor arrived.
7 – At a pre-purchase staff meeting in early 2022, the main shareholder Pedro Vargas David, all smiles and with full knowledge of the company’s accounts, said he wanted to buy and then invest in the company. In March 2023, managing director Dubois surprised staff representatives by announcing the loss of more than two hundred jobs, two-thirds of them in the editorial department.
Alpac will now be spreading its tentacles across Europe, especially in Brussels, as close as possible to the centres of power. Freedom of the press is not in good hands.