Ursulines and Ninjas

By: Serafeim Kotrotsos
Greek Article can be found at: rizopoulospost.com

That most of the media, and especially television stations, “play hard ” (to use a football term) the Tsipras government, is accurate.

Also accurate is the fact that the same media did not show a similar opposition sensitivity over previous governments that were for the economic policy memorandum. They discovered, for example, the “grandiose mobilization” of people, exactly where they were previously finding”promoters” against the “necessary memoranda”.

It is also certain that this “tough game” that certain television stations choose, is associated with the government’s undertaking to overthrow the existing irregular and sometimes illegal correlations in the broadcasting landscape, with the siege being the expected competition for new television licenses.

To make a long story short however, that the media have suddenly transformed, from systemic Ursulines to “ninjas” against the Syriza-An.El government, does not negate the basic principle of Democracy that wants the media to control each respective power .

If the media were subdued with George Papandreou, Lukas Papademos and Antonis Samaras, it does not mean that they should treat Alexis Tsipras in the same way, in the name of “common law”. Even the obvious business considerations that some media serve do not negate the need for a media stand against the government.

Errors (of the past) are not corrected with new errors.

In this context, the deputy minister Christopher Vernardakis -who was targeted by the opposition in the last days; made a good point but reached a wrong conclusion.

He said that “the empowerment of specific politico-economic cycles through the media, constitutes pathogenesis.” Correct. On this actually, New Democracy made the wrong conclusion, considering that the reference amounts to challenging the freedom of the press.

The communicating vessels between business circles of influence and the political system through the channel created by the ownership or the correlation of the first with the media, is a known phenomenon, and constitutes pathogenesis.

Where Mr. Vernardakis loses his point, is when he says that “the media need a regulatory framework under which to operate because they now operate uncontrollably without journalistic ethics.”

The 15th article  (paragraph 2) of the Constitution, for which great debate has taken place lately, is clear: “Radio and television shall be under the direct control of the State”. It specifies however, that the control and sanctions belong in the field of the National Broadcasting Council.

But before Article 15 -that anyone invokes whenever convenient- comes also article 14.

“Everyone can express and disseminate orally, in writing and through the press their thoughts, while respecting the laws of the State. The press is free, censorship and any other preventive measure is prohibited. ”

As far as journalistic ethics go, the only one who can define “regulatory framework” is the actual space of the media, namely the journalists. That media does not do it, or doesn’t do it adequately, or even when they do it selectively, it does not remove the responsibility and shall not entitle any government to do so. We have seen what has happened previously with “press killing” laws or legislative frameworks that propagated the interlace.

In conclusion, the government has “a mount of right” when distinguishing considerations behind the way, that certain television stations or specific “Internet offshoots” attack it, but this does not give the government any right to impose “regulatory framework” ethics. Let the government stay only in the need to create a legal framework (business) operation of the media, which is undoubtedly its job.

Besides, all this is connected. When an information medium owner can not receive “loans”or” public contracts”,  then it is a fact that it will cut the umbilical cord which in past decades has been the cause of interlace.


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