Ukraine-Russia conflict: Moscow blocks Ukrainian journalists at Euronews

11:59 Oct. 10, 2016

Moscow blocks Ukrainian journalists at Euronews

The new headquarters of Euronews television, the multilingual European television news, are seen in Lyon, central France, Sept. 22, 2015 (AP Photo)

Russian service of Euronews refuses to hire any Ukrainian journalists in violation of French labour legislation

The Russian service of the French broadcaster Euronews – which is financed by Moscow – has refused to provide jobs to journalists from the Ukrainian service, in violation of French labour legislation, after the department was shut down and 17 journalists made redundant, EurActiv reports.

Euronews, a private media venture which benefits from substantial EU funding, has in recent years been destabilised by the arrival of foreign investors.

The latest episode is the current closure of the Ukrainian service, due to lack of financing, and the lay-off of 17 journalists.

The Russian service of Euronews has five job openings, but refuses to take any of the 17 journalists from the Ukrainian department. The management explained that not hiring any Ukrainian journalists was a specific instruction from the Russian shareholder (Russian state TV).

The journalists have argued that not proposing positions available within the company to people facing job cuts is a clear violation of the French labour legislation, not even to mention the company's ethical responsibility towards people who have all worked here for over five years.

However, the management has responded that Ukrainian journalists could not work for the Russian service "because their cultural background is too different".

Journalists have rejected the explanation as ridiculous. During discussions, journalists referred to the English service that over time has had journalists from Australia, New Zealand, Southern Scotland, Ireland, USA and even France, and the differences in their cultural backgrounds have never been an issue. Moreover, cultural diversity is one of the core values of Euronews, as the company's management likes to say.

Another concern raised by journalists is that the European dimension of Euronews was "brutally disappearing" and that the management was pushing the broadcaster into becoming a "bad CNN", covering anything else, but not the EU.

"If today the management is complying with the Russian demands concerning the choice of journalists, it means that tomorrow all Euronews services may be forced to voice messages of the Russian state propaganda in their respective languages", a journalist said.

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