Peter Barabas is the Editor In Chief at Euronews, one of the main news medias of the world. This year, he has participated in the conference by making a speech and intervening as a witness at ILYMUN’s International Court of Justice. A member of the press team sat down with him to discuss what he hopes to bring to the conference, and his role at Euronews.
Press: Hello Mr Barabas, we’ve got a few questions related to ILYMUN 2018. First of all, as editor in chief of Euronews, and witness in the case that you described during your presentation,what are your responsibilities, what are the main points you take care of in your everyday life?
Peter Barabas: I’m editor in chief at Euronews, which is an international news organization broadcasting across the five continents, to about 200 million homes. What we do everyday is we cover the world as it happens and as it develops. For that, we have about 400 journalists around the world. Whenever something big happens in a country, we go there and cover it and we report it to our people in the most responsible way, because our values are impartiality, accuracy and fairness. My job is to work together with my colleagues in deciding from everything that happens around the world during the day what are the most interesting things, the most important stories., and how we tell them to our audience.
Press: You were a witness at the International Court of Justice today. What was your role?
P.B:I present the case, that the court will now debate, and this is the case of the syrian civil war and more precisely is the story of the white helmet. They are syrian volunteers people from all walks of life, who come together during the war to save people from the rabble and to document everything that is happening in Syria at the moment . this is the case i presented, who the white helmets are and what they do, what they have to go through, and how they are the heroes of this terrible civil war, trying to save people rather than killing them.
Press: What is it you found interesting in an event like ILYMUN?
P.B:This is my fourth year, I think, that I attend ILYMUN, and for me as a journalist it's always very interesting to interact with young people, just to see how interested they are in the world around them, the realities of the world, and how they prepare for them. For me it's very interesting to see how curious they are. That's why I’m always interested to come to ILYMUN, where young people like you are always eager to find out about the world.
Press: What do you hope to bring to an event like ILYMUN?
P.B:To bring knowledge and to bring context, and to tell the participants things that they may not know or things they may not be aware of. They might read the newspapers and watch the media every day or consume media over Twitter and Facebook, but that can be confusing and chaotic. I want to explain to them what the reality of the situation is and why it’s happening, for them to be able to form their own opinion on issues such as, in our case, the Syrian Civil War.
Press: Why do you think international collaboration, whether it be in diplomacy or journalism, is important?
P.B:We ( Journalists) have a passion for truth, and a passion for fairness, and a passion for justice, that's what journalists are always interested in, in finding out the truth. For diplomats, it's about finding out justice,and bringing some clarity and some solutions to the world and to the civilizations that we are. Diplomats do their own political diplomacy and negotiations to solve situations and to bring order to the world and make it progress. Our job is to tell the people what’s happening around them, and to bring the truth and the reality, for them to be able to make their own decisions.
Press: What is the most interesting aspect of your work?
P.B:Its an immense privilege to be a able to tell people the truth.As journalists, we believe we have the best job in the world because we have the privilege and the huge responsibility to tell our audience, our viewers and the people who consume journalism what is happening in the world and give them the facts. There is a danger these days about the so called fake news which are spreading very rapidly with social media. Fake news proliferation is a serious danger to traditional media, as people tend to believe all sorts of fake stories and they can also be influenced by government propaganda. This makes our job even more important now, as we have to bring reality and truth to people.
Press: What are the challenges news reporting will face in the future, for example linked to the development of cities, and how will you address them?
P.B:One of the challenges we face is that people are not watching television anymore, but they are instead watching the news online and, as I just said the danger there is pretty high with the expansion of fake news, making it difficult to make the difference between reality and bias. With the development of cities we also think that people tend to withdraw in smaller communities, and in those smaller communities they create their own news and have their own points of view, and they base their lives on this. This is what we are worried about, that people may, in the big cities, retreat to these smaller communities, and insulate themselves from the realities of the world.
Press: What do you hope will be the outcome of your speech at the International Court of Justice?
P.B:That the participants will care, and that they will realise that what happens in Syria today will affect our lives for the next 20 years. I hope to make them care and make them aware of what’s happening there. I want them to realize that when something bad happens around you, you have the choice to run away, to get out of there, or to get involved and help people.
Press Thank you very much for your time Mr Barabas.