Ukraine flags scandalous pro-Russian reporting by Euronews

A video screenshot showing kids being trained to defuse landmines. [Euronews]

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU has sent letters to the European Commission expressing shock about a “positive” Euronews feature that showed a Russian army initiative that trains children in Crimea how to defuse landmines.

“I am more than concerned, not to say shocked, by the Euronews piece ‘Crimean kids learn how to defuse landmines’ dated 23 January,”Mykola Tochytski revealed.

The first version of the piece praised the initiative of the Russian army, with a series of enthusiastic quotes from children involved in the programme. Later, the article was updated with a reference to Crimea’s annexation.

The Ukrainian ambassador wrote:

“I am asking to what extent could the lowering of journalistic standards go, if Euronews, which proclaims to be the source of ‘independent, unbiased and reliable news for Europeans’, is broadcasting quite a ‘positive’ piece where the occupant army (!) teaches kids (!) how to deal with weapons (!), not even mentioning the illegal occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory by Russia.”

Euronews, the TV station created in 1992 as a “European response” to CNN, has recently been in the spotlight as a result of numerous shortcomings and scandals.

Commission to ‘look seriously’ at Euronews mess

EXCLUSIVE / The European Commission has finally decided to “look seriously” at the many problems plaguing Euronews, the TV station created in 1992 as a “European response” to CNN, according to official letters seen by Euractiv.com.

One of the issues was the collapse of the Ukraine section following the discontinued funding.

The Ukrainian edition of Euronews was opened in 2009, with Ukrainian public financing. In February 2015, an Egyptian investor, Naguib Sawiris, bought a 53% stake in Euronews, and on 13 March 2015 it was announced that Inter Media Group, owned by Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch, had taken over the Ukrainian service.

Later, Firtash abandoned the project, which triggered another scandal, with the Russian service, which is financed by Moscow, refusing to provide jobs to journalists from the Ukrainian service, in violation of French labour legislation.

Row over Moscow 'blocking' Ukrainian journalists at Euronews

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.

The Commission grants Euronews financing to the tune of €25 million per year, but is not represented on its board nor has it expressed a wish to be. The Commissioner in charge for media is Mariya Gabriel.

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