SOFIA – US senator flags Chinese media meddling in Central Europe

Influential Republican Senator Marco Rubio has asked President Donald Trump to block a deal through which the PPF group of Czech billionaire Peter Kellner is to acquire a majority stake in Central European Media Group Enterprises (CME).

The media company operates in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia with a total of 97 million viewers. The group owns the Bulgarian television bTV, which has the biggest audience.

The senator calls on the government to give a comprehensive review in the context of national security implications of AT&T’s decision to part with its company. Rubio is chairman of the US Congress Commission on China. He is a member of the Senate Committee on International Relations and Intelligence.

In his letter to US Department of Treasury and US Department of Justice, Rubio writes that Kellner and his PFF Group have a “record of acting as China’s proxies inside the Czech Republic” and have “supported China’s malign activities abroad”.
Kellner’s company said it will contact the senator to provide him with “adequate information.”
The PPF admits that it works in China, but that does not mean it “views the world differently.” “On the contrary, as people who have spent a significant part of their lives in totalitarian communism, we deeply appreciate the freedom of speech,” says the position of the Kellner group.
(Krassen Nikolov

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