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The Law on the New Greek Radio, Internet and TV was passed with the votes of PASOK and New Democracy

20 July 2013 / 17:07:37  GRReporter
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Late last night, parliament passed the bill for the New Greek Radio, Internet and TV (NERIT) with the votes of New Democracy and PASOK, after the roll-call vote requested by SYRIZA. 155 deputies voted "for", 104 were against and there was one abstention. Deputies from Golden Dawn were absent from the plenary hall.

Debates in the discussion provoked violent confrontations between SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and Deputy Minister Pantelis Kapsis who is responsible for the reorganisation of the state broadcaster ERT after its closure. Kapsis’s reaction was triggered by Tsipras’s phrase "I know you and respect you, but I did not expect you to take up such a position, you, a journalist who has held executive positions in private media outlets, the owners of which play a central role."

In turn, Kapsis said that he was responsible for his words and his actions, because, over the years, he hadn’t been a party cadre or worked in the public sector, adding: "You are talking about problems with morale. You put Avgi in the position director of To Vima newspaper. I guess you didn’t do this in order to hand over Avgi to the publishers. You have an outstanding lawyer next to you, who has also been a legal assistant of owners of private TV channels, and was president of a football club owned by such a person, and you chose him to lead constitutional reforms in order to fight corruption. And there is no problem in terms of him, but suddenly there is a moral problem on my part, because I have worked in the private sector for 35 years."

Tsipras replied that there is a conflict of interest in this case because the bill in question was created in order to close ERT, and the new TV cannot be of better quality with less money. According to Tsipras, this is in direct service to private media outlets and their owners.

Minister Dimitris Stamatis also had an argument with Tsipras on the topic of ERT and the establishment of a control commission for the closure of ERT. Stamatis accused Tsipras of failing to convince even the editors of his party newspaper that the establishment of such a commission was aimed at the protection of journalists. According to Stamatis, the fact that SYRIZA party newspaper has not devoted a single line to this discussion is indicative.

He said that during the discussion a controversial thesis was repeated very often - that ERT may have not been watched, but it was of good quality. According to the Minister, a middle position should exist in a democratic country and people’s preferences should be taken into account.

According to Stamatis, even ERT’s newscasts were a lot below the level of private channels’ broadcasts. In this situation, according to him, the insistence to provide this kind of quality television which people do not watch caters for the interests of media owners. Before the roll-call vote, Stamatis urged lawmakers of Democratic Left to support the law.

During yesterday's parliamentary session, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou also criticised Tsipras’s opinion about ERT and accused SYRIZA of not condemning the attack on Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis, adding that slogans of the time of the Civil War were raised in the presence of party representatives but they did not react. "I am not surprised by Mr Tsipras’s antipathy towards those who work in the private sector, not only because he wants everything to be state property, but also because he prefers unionists and party cadres. He grew up with them and trusts them," said Kedikoglou, adding that with this law the government dared to remove any possibility of control over the state television. He also added that the government sector will not belong to any political parties or governments or guilds in the new Greece, but will belong to people.

Kedikoglou drew attention to the fact that Tsipras has promised recently in Halkida "working unions" in factories and accused him of dreaming of a country of unions. Tsipras’s smile when he heard that his political opponents should be sent to the Gulag also clearly demonstrated this. According to Kedikoglou, Tsipras is imagining a commune in Athens.

As regards Tsipras’s accusation that the government will provide information in private hands, Kedikoglou said that it was precisely the private TV channels that benefited from the weak ERT. According to him, however, a new competitive state television channel can only make them nervous.

Tags: New Greek radio Internet and TV SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras Simos Kedikoglou Dimitris Stamatis
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