Regulator investigates “compliance with legal transparency obligations” by the owner of Sol and i newspapers

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The Media Regulatory Authority (ERC) told Lusa today that it was “verifying compliance with the legal obligations of transparency” by Newsplex, which owns the Nascer do Sol and i Inevitável newspapers and is owned by Pedro Vargas David’s Alpac.

“Within the framework of Law No. 78/2015, of July 29, which regulates the promotion of transparency in the ownership, management and means of financing of entities that pursue media activities under the jurisdiction of the Portuguese State, ERC is verifying compliance with legal transparency obligations by Newsplex, S.A., owner of the publications Nascer do Sol and I Inevitável,” the regulator said in a written statement sent to the Lusa news agency.

“The ERC will take the necessary steps if it detects non-compliance with these legal obligations,” he adds.

The statement sent by the regulator follows a report published today by the Expresso newspaper, according to which Pedro Vargas David – son of former PSD MEP Mário David, political advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán – “received 45 million euros from the Hungarian state” to buy the European television channel Euronews, of which he is currently chairman.

The aim was to allow the national-conservative Fidesz party, led by Orbán, to “influence the coverage of Europe’s most European television channel”.

According to the weekly, “documents obtained by the Hungarian journalistic project Direkt36, shared with Expresso and the French newspaper Le Monde in a joint investigation carried out over the last few months, reveal that a fund wholly owned by the Hungarian state and with links to Fidesz invested 45 million euros in EFMI [European Future Media Investment Fund] so that, in turn, this fund managed by Pedro Vargas David’s Alpac Capital would formally buy Euronews in July 2022.”

“The documents also show that the company of the main producer of propaganda for Orbán’s government, Gyula Balasy’s New Land Media, lent 12.5 million euros to a Hungarian subsidiary of Alpac Capital so that it could invest in EFMI itself, meaning that at least 57.5 million euros with clear links to the prime minister were injected into Euronews,” he adds.

Expresso reports that “the takeover of the television channel coincided with the purchase in Portugal of the weekly Nascer do Sol and the newspaper i'” by Vargas David and his minority partner in Alpac, Luís Santos, son of soccer coach Fernando Santos.

Both newspapers are controlled by the same company that currently holds the Euronews position, an Alpac Capital holding company in Dubai.

Government wants to review Press Law and strengthen ERC’s role in tackling disinformation

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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