The Daily Telegraph

Eutelstat ‘spreading Putin’s propaganda’

- By Matthew Field

A EUROPEAN MP has accused Eutelsat, the French satellite company that will soon be partly owned by the British taxpayer of spreading Kremlin propaganda in a “massive disinforma­tion campaign”.

Andrus Ansip, a former vice president at the European Commission who was prime minister of Estonia for nearly a decade, accused Paris-listed Eutelsat of continuing with “business as usual” by broadcasti­ng propaganda news channels in Russia.

Eutelsat, which operates television satellites across Europe, carries Russian TV channels that reach 50pc of Russian homes and make up 6pc of its revenues. The programmes it transmits include news shows on Rossiya 1, which has broadcast calls from Russian politician­s to massacre millions of Ukrainians.

In July, Eutelsat announced the $3.4bn (£3bn) takeover of Oneweb, the British satellite company bailed out by taxpayers in 2020 under Boris Johnson. French activists have accused Eutelsat of “bloodcasti­ng” by failing to take down Russian TV channels and have held protests outside its headquarte­rs.

The interventi­on of Mr Ansip represents the most senior European politician to speak out against the deal and Eutelsat’s decision to carry on broadcasti­ng. Eva Berneke, chief executive of Eutelsat, has insisted that the company is pursuing a policy of “neutrality” in its broadcasti­ng, and that most of the shows on the channels it transmits are made up of children’s TV and sports.

Eutelsat declined to comment.

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