Posted: 4 years ago
Author: Nina Gomarteli

Euronews CEO Michael Peters: We Will Bring Europe to Georgia as Well as Take Georgia to Europe

Euronews, in partnership with Silknet, founded its third franchise - Euronews Georgia, set to launch by July 2020. 

The opening of franchises is a new direction for Euronews, to be a global and at the same time a local - "Glocal" news channel. Currently, Euronews Georgia is preparing to go live and CBW had an interview with Euronews CEO, Michael Peters to learn more about the updates and purpose of the channel: 

To begin with, please give us a little bit of insight what’s the status of Euronews Georgia currently. 

I’m happy to share, that everything’s on the right track: the location has been chosen, the technical side has settled, and the launch date is expected to be in June, July at the latest. As we signed the agreement with Silknet, it will guarantee to carry out Euronews values. Selection of staff goes in consultation with Euronews headquarter HR. As for the chef of news, one will be appointed solely by Euronews. 

Does the channel already have an editor in chief? 

As expected, we’ve received hundreds of applications and recommendations about candidates. It was a hard process to choose one for now, as we are citing a neutral edition in the country, and a selected person must have shared the exact same values. We respect all the journalists and media professionals in the country, I’m sure there are people like that in the future. We are extremely strict on this line, as we have a precise view of what we want to do everywhere in the world. Euronews will ensure that news is treated with strict impartiality by appointing Vasilis Bitsis as the editor-in-chief of the newly-created channel and by establishing and controlling an editorial board. 

He’s worked for Euronews for 7 years, he’s a director of Euronews Greek Service in Athens, so he’s aware of all details of editorial policy. He will be managing here from 6 to 12 months, and during this time, we urge to recruit journalists from the young generation. Our idea is to find that one person from Georgia who’ll then become the head of the newsroom, will be trained accordingly and learn about the policies we have. 

Euronews Georgia is the third franchise, along with Euronews Serbia and Euronews Albania. Our country like others certainly needs an impartial, unbiased media platform. What are the other motives Georgia has been selected for? 

We made a choice based on two main factors: positioning of the country itself and the nature of the partner. We have a very good corporation here, here we found a fantastic match between these two criteria. Geopolitically speaking, the country that is a crossroad is very interesting for us. In our opinion, Georgia is a key country because of its location and herewith we share lots of values with the country itself and our partner- Silknet. We demonstrated what exactly our vision is and we won’t compromise on imbalanced approach. 

I think we started an interesting challenge in a country where media nowadays seems to have a position. We respect their professionalism, we don’t say we are better than others, but I expect us to bring something different to Georgia.  

Obviously, Euronews’ policy will be applied to Euronews Georgia. How will it be the editorial policy managed? 

It will be absolutely similar, this chapter is applied to a contract signed with Silknet. We need to follow this policy in Euronews Georgia, like in any other franchises. If there’s any issue regarding that, Euronews can shut the franchise down and withdraw from it. There’s a huge engagement in this regard from our partner, it takes a strong commitment to respecting the brand. The content will be a mixture of international news produced by Euronews that will be adapted to the Georgian language. 

In addition to this broad international content, surely, there will be a national one. We’ll still be with an international purpose, as we never enter into pure national news because it’s not our positioning. We will speak about local news through the national, regional, international point of view. In other words, the contents of Euronews Georgia will be mixed, meaning that we will bring Europe to Georgia as well as take Georgia to Europe.

Scrolling down your Instagram page, I came across unexpected posts. You hold DJ sets in different clubs. It took me by surprise Euronews CEO being so fond of music, and still finding time to follow his passion, along with launching franchises, shaking hands with Government officials and participating in forums. How do you combine these two different worlds? 

I have an easy point here- Work is during the daytime and DJing is at night, you don’t DJ from 8 am to 8 pm, except when you go to Ibiza. I try to take some time on the weekend, at night, whenever it doesn’t interfere with my job. I started DJing when I was 16 years old, and since then it’s my passion. Other people might like gardening or doing sports, I don’t enjoy any of them, I’m fond of music so I choose to follow it. 

I’ve asked myself whether I should do it or not, I even stopped doing that for 10 years, because I thought it wasn’t compatible with my status or schedule. The passion is so rooted inside me, that I decided to go for it. As long as it doesn’t hinder my job, that’s so important to me. I also played it here in Georgia on Thursday, people seem to enjoy it, I have another gig on Saturday, I will play with a DJ from Berlin. 

To wrap it up, what should be the role of global media? In this case - glocal media. 

I think the role is very clear, news needs to show more global perspectives and in many respects, rather than all regional and national news. That’s what we’re trying to do at Euronews- to empower people by giving them unbiased facts and let them make their own decisions, have their own opinion on current events. That’s what we do every day, and that will be the purpose of Euronews Georgia too.