Greece: scolding for the media from the left
A TV commercial by the opposition left-wing party Syriza has sparked controversy in Greece. In the ad money falls from the sky as a journalist excitedly praises the prime minister - in reference to the close ties between the government and numerous media outlets, which have been further tightened by the state providing 20 million euros in coronavirus aid to information services in a non-transparent manner. Do Greek media deserve this scolding?
A big hit
The left-wing daily Avgi praises the media coup:
“The 140,000 views on YouTube and 280,000 on Facebook are proof of the spectacular impact of the message. Ultimately it achieves its goal of criticising opaque financing of the media in exchange for consensus and constant praise for the policies and government work under Mitsotakis ... . We must admit that it is a great success and that it has dealt a severe blow to the media system and its close ties to the lobby of certain businessmen and politicians who believe they can manipulate and control public opinion.”
Syriza undermining free speech
The ad is an offense to journalism and thus to democracy, lawyer Panagiotis Doudonis fumes in Protagon:
“A culture of contempt for journalism such as that shown by Syriza is also a culture of contempt for democracy. From encouraging diversity of opinion to informing and commenting to researching stories, journalism forms the foundation on which the democratic functioning of the state is based. And democracy is a form of government that needs well-informed citizens to prosper. This task, too, is entrusted to the press with its pluralism and educational function. Attempting to downgrade journalists and the press by disregarding their moral status is therefore a direct insult to democracy.”