[MGSA-L] Greece: A Grave Situation With Very Real Consequences

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Sat Nov 8 17:14:19 PST 2014

Greece: A Grave Situation With Very Real Consequences
Saturday, 08 November 2014 10:56


Michael Nevradakis is a Ph.D student in Media Studies at the University of
Texas at Austin and a US Fulbright Scholar presently based in Athens,
Greece. Michael is also the host of Dialogos Radio, a weekly radio program
featuring interviews and coverage of current events in Greece.

After a series of articles about the media in Greece this the final
commentary by the author


Here are the preliminary paragraphs :

This is the eighth and final article in a series that chronicles the long
history of corruption, lawlessness and censorship in Greece's media and
journalism landscapes. This is a situation that has worsened in recent
years in the midst of the country's severe economic crisis, but it has a
deeply-rooted history.

A fair amount of attention has been paid in the past two years to the
decline in press freedom and freedom of speech in crisis-hit Greece. And
while there are many real, tangible examples which illustrate this
disturbing decline, what should be evident from the preceding sections of
this piece is that the decline is merely a continuation of a decades-old
situation in Greece, where governments enforced or ignored laws at will,
while a small group of media owners and publishers with major interests
across several sectors of the economy, have been essentially allowed to
operate above the law and to use their power to influence both public
opinion and government officials.

The consequences of this ongoing situation are many, and they are quite
dire. It is a situation where the victims, ultimately, are ordinary Greek
citizens, who for decades have had access to a media system which was
pluralistic in name only, but within which the range of opinions and
viewpoints was, for the most part, tremendously limited and restricted. It
is a broadcast marketplace that is closed off to new players, as no
licensing bids have been completed in over a decade, forcing potential new
entrants to purchase an existing station, thereby creating a tremendous
barrier to entry into the marketplace. It is a broadcast marketplace where
smaller players have been systematically shut out, as was the case with the
forced closure of 66 radio stations in Athens in 2001, or the 2007 law
which permitted ownership of multiple television and radio outlets. It is a
marketplace in which there is no legal provision for non-profit or
low-power broadcasters, as is the case in many other countries in Europe,
North America and elsewhere.

Indeed, higher concentration of ownership has not only limited the range of
opinions and viewpoints heard in the media, but has also had a negative
economic impact on numerous outlets which were previously healthy.
Increased concentration has been harmful for media employees as well. As
media outlets have merged or been bought out by larger companies, jobs have
been eliminated, and when certain companies overextended themselves and
found themselves in dire straits, unable to service their debts, the media
outlets which they had amassed debt in order to acquire shut down, while
their employees found themselves out of work.

Those employees who still have jobs in the media industry are themselves
facing worsening working conditions. Self-censorship amongst journalists is
prevalent, as it is an "open secret" in many media workplaces that certain
topics and stories are "off-limits" in the eyes of the ownership and
management of those outlets. Journalists who have defied these unwritten
limits have often found themselves fired or demoted. This is as true in
state- and municipally-owned media outlets as it is in privately-owned
outlets. Employees in media outlets have been forced, in many cases, to
accept lower salaries, fewer benefits, and far less job security in recent
years, despite promises that concentration would lead to growth and the
creation of new jobs. Journalists have also been subjected to increased
violence and intimidation while on duty, further fostering a climate of
fear and a possible reluctance to provide coverage of potentially sensitive



June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877
E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
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