BBC Monitoring is reporting text from Russia’s Kommersant newspaper that the channel owes some $3.81 million which is supposed to be paid by the end of this year. If the bill isn’t paid then – says the report – the Lyon headquarters of EuroNews will cease transmitting the Ukrainian version.
Under an agreement between the National Television Company of Ukraine (NTCU) and Euronews, Ukraine is obliged to make two payments a year: a membership free and a licence fee. “The licence money is used, in particular, to pay the editorial staff in Lyon, to create the content and broadcast the satellite channel. Last year, Ukraine made all payments, but this year the necessary funds were not envisaged in the budget and the debt could move to the 2013 budget,” a high-ranking source in the government told Kommersant.
The agreement on the opening of a full Ukrainian-language version was signed on October 21st 2010. The government appointed deputy director-general of the NTCU, Walid Harfouche, as chairman of the supervisory board of Euronews Ukraine. The channel went on air on August 24th 2011.
The chairman of the supervisory board of Euronews Ukraine, Walid Harfouche denied there is any debt. “There is a scheme for paying the bills mentioned in our contract with EuroNews. Some amounts are transferred on time, some with delays, but there are no global woes with the Ukrainian office of Euronews,” he told Kommersant.
One local media observer said it was questionable whether EuroNews in Ukrainian was worth supporting. “”Nobody will be hurt if the Ukrainian office of EuroNews terminates its work. The share of EuroNews Ukraine’s audience is very small. It is so small that the research companies do not even include it into their rating lists,” the director-general of the Lux TV and radio company (including Lux FM radio and Channel 24), Roman Andriyko, told Kommersant.