Media Terrorism in Greece Must Be Stopped
Speaking of the situation in the week running up to the July 5 referendum on the country’s bailout proposals, Kretsos noted that some channels reported that seven people out of 10 intended to vote “yes” at the referendum on the Greek lenders’ proposals while only one had decided to vote “no.”
“I think it is media terrorism… For 25 years private [TV] channels have been doing what they like. They can and do buy politicians, they can and do provide loans, they can and do control information. There is no diversity of opinions, pluralism of information,” Kretsos told RIA Novosti.
“Such practice must be stopped and rules on transparency and freedom of the press need to be put in place,” Kretsos said.
He added that it was the Greek government’s duty to regulate the country’s mass media.
In July, media reports suggested that a court in Athens would hear a case to determine whether certain Greek media outlets violated election law while covering the referendum and preceding events in the country.
An investigation was opened into the media coverage of the referendum, with the prosecution examining whether certain media outlets attempted to ‘cheat’ voters by influencing them, which is prohibited by the Greek Penal Code.
In the nationwide referendum, some 61 percent of Greeks cast their ballot against the reforms demanded by the country’s international creditors in exchange for the next bailout package expected to assist the heavily indebted country.
The Greek government aims to impose order on the country’s media and make their operations more transparent, Kretsos said Tuesday.
The Greek government has proposed a bill, requiring Greek television channels, that have been working for up to 25 years on temporary permits, to comply with obligatory licensing procedures. They will have to participate in tenders for frequencies, reveal all their owners, comply with labor laws as well as paying taxes and contributions to social insurance funds.
“What’s important here is that this is the first time that media and television channels [in Greece] will be brought to order,” Kretsos told RIA Novosti.
The official added that current practices “allow corruption” and enable “the old political class” to control the media, censoring news in order to conceal political and economic scandals in the country.
“Only license holders will be able to broadcast. We will hold an international tender and grant licenses according to its results,” Kretsos said.
He added that a vote on the draft laws to increase transparency in the Greek media would be held no earlier than September.