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Media and democracy

01 February 2016 / 00:02:48  GRReporter
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The idea of auctioning out digital broadcasting licences is no less original: most countries supported their media in the process of switching over to digital technology. They do it because they believe television is first and foremost a cultural good rather than a weapon of fierce partisan clashes. And because, indeed, they do not sell licences, but rather collect a percentage of their income, as was done in Greece in the era of analogue television.

Everything taking place with licences now is a repetition of the nonsense from 1995, 2001, and 2005. These are all attempts by the political elite to keep the media under its thumb. The parties disagree with the powers of the minister, but are prone to accept the unacceptable procedures for frequency auctioning. Because they know they will have representatives in the Radio and Television Council once the number of its members is increased, and will therefore be able to haggle with the private bidders over the number, type and cost of licences.

Access must be kept open – with some limits in place to ensure the reliability of bidders. The Radio and Television Council should then require the network owner (Digea, EPT or someone else) to include the channel in its network. The role of the Council is to enrich radio and TV production rather than restrict it or take on the role of a policeman.

This makes practical sense and this is what democracy – as well as modern technologies – demands. Instead, it transpires that – just as some companies are emigrating to Bulgaria – some channels are preparing to move over to Cyprus, where they will be entitled to broadcast in Greece based on EU law.

The six-year relentless party jockeying for power is still going on. It will pile up other ruins next to those it has already produced. Until there is nothing left out there.

Tags: Dimitris Psihoyos analysis media political control licenses
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