Czech JV of Sourcefabric, MDIF buys stake in Polish radio Eurozet, angering PiS
Holding company Czech Media Invest (CMI) has sold the Polish radio station group Eurozet it acquired last year to Prague-based SFS Ventures and its Polish partner Agora in a move that has reportedly angered Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Polish MP Beata Mazurek, spokeswoman for PiS, criticized the imminent purchase in a post on Twitter in January and favours changing Polish legislation to require a certain level of Polish capital in domestic media investments.
“PiS along with Chairman Jarosław Kaczyński at its head, believe that the State should do everything in its power so that stock speculators will not increase their influence over the media market.”
SFS Ventures is a Czech joint venture between Sourcefabric, founded in Prague in 2010 to support independent journalism worldwide through open-source digital newsroom solutions, and Media Development Investment Fund, Inc. (MDIF), a fund for independent media focused on issues that help “build free, thriving societies”.
MDIF was founded in 1995 as Media Development Loan Fund by journalists Saša Vučinić, a Serbian editor and media manager who had run B92, Belgrade’s leading independent radio station, during the early years of the Milosevic regime, and Stuart Auerbach, Washington Post journalist and foreign correspondent.
Marie Němcová, MDIF’s Chief Operating Officer, a former program director at the Open Society Fund Prague (OSFP), said in a press release that as the number two radio company on the Polish market, Eurozet is a profitable business an excellent investment.
CMI, co-owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský, bought Eurozet last year from French concern Lagardère. The holding company focuses on acquisitions and management of media assets in Central and Western Europe. Through its subsidiary company Czech News Center, a leading domestic media house, it publishes four daily newspapers, several dozen magazines and web titles.
Last year, CMI expanded its operations to France where now owns Lagardère group’s magazine titles in France, including the flagship title Elle, France Dimanche and Ici Paris.