TV channel Euronews will launch its ninth language version – Turkish – in January 2010, in partnership with Turkey’s national public broadcaster, TRT. Philippe Cayla, president of the executive board of Euronews, gave EURACTIV more details yesterday (3 March).
Thanks to the distribution network of TRT, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, Euronews will be present in 17 million Turkish homes. But Cayla insisted that the service will also benefit millions of Turkish-speaking people living abroad, in Northern Cyprus, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, in particular Germany.
Euronews is a multilingual channel which already broadcasts in eight languages, and has a format that is easily adjustable to new languages, Cayla explained. The company is aiming to increase the number of languages, and with TRT, the two channels found a mutual interest, he said.
“By introducing the Turkish language service, Euronews will have more viewers in Turkey, and that’s our immediate interest. As for Turkey, the interest is to have an information channel which focuses strongly on Europe, able to familiarise the audience with European affairs,” Cayla said.
He explained that there will be editorial changes or adaptations made to the programmes. “There will be a natural tendency to speak more about Turkey.”
Euronews will also be able to use footage from TRT, but that will be edited by Euronews journalists. An advertising window will be opened for the benefit of Turkish markets.
Turkish journalists wanted
Cayla added that Euronews will hire 17 Turkish journalists, who will influence the editorial team in the same way that journalists from the other language services do.
Asked about the procedure for hiring Turkish-speaking journalists, Cayla said they must simply send their CV to Euronews, and if their profile fits with the requirements, they will be interviewed by the editorial team in Lyon, France.
Asked about the financial aspects of the deal with TRT, Cayla said the Turkish public broadcaster will become a Euronews shareholder and will finance the Turkish language version. “The cost of launching a new language on Euronews is not a secret, because we have a contract with the EU for the Arabic language, to the amount of five million euro per year,” Cayla said.
Asked whether the project was also conceived with the aim of addressing the problem of rising euroscepticism in Turkey, Cayla made no secret of the fact that this is part of the motivation for both sides.
“I think this is precisely the motivation of TRT, to boost the pro-European feelings in Turkey,” he said.
The president of the Euronews executive board stressed that his channel’s editorial line is global, and the adaptation is local through the language versions (currently German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Arabic).
Against the Anglo-Saxon vision of the world
“We fight against the monopoly of the English language and of the Anglo-Saxon vision of the world. We are the only true counterbalance of this Anglo-Saxon vision of the world. And I think the Turks will appreciate this, because for the time being, they don’t have such a counterbalance,” Cayla stated.
As for his evaluation of the services launched most recently (Russian and Arabic), Cayla said that for Russia the impact is excellent, in Moscow and in the Russian-speaking world, and it has been measured since 1999. The Arabic service was only launched in July 2008 and there are no reliable impact assessments available yet. However, there has been one such assessment made in Lebanon, showing that Euronews is ahead of its competitors CNN and BBC World.
“We were behind Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, but we cannot really compete with those channels, which are so deeply anchored in the Arab world,” said Cayla. He made no secret of the fact that Euronews has more ambitions for other language services. “It’s perhaps too early to be specific, but we have projects for new European and extra-European languages,” Cayla revealed.