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SYRIZA is not the political opposite of Golden Dawn

05 April 2013 / 20:04:06  GRReporter
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During the two election races in 2012, the media covered anything related to Golden Dawn without any criticism and their only criterion was commercial.

I think the national media have somehow changed their attitude lately. This applies more to television and radio stations, because newspapers have had a different attitude to Golden Dawn from the very beginning. What I mean is that television and radio stations spare less space for covering this organization.

But the question is not simple. Fortunately, we live in a liberal democracy, where a liberal media scene operates. Events should be disclosed to the public and I understand the difficulty of the media in finding a balance, in order to bring qualitative criteria when covering organizations and parties of the extremist right wing.
 
On the other hand, I would like to emphasize that there are newspapers that paint their actions in bright colours in a not so well disguised manner rather than providing their readers with information about their ideology.

Who were the people who voted for Golden Dawn last year? Do you think that the "acts of heroism" of its members would repel those who had supported them for the sole purpose of punishing traditional parties?

Shading the right or left extremism, or the political spaces that are on the edge or outside the constitutional order would deprive the public of information on the one hand. Very often, people look for ways to express their discontent or anger. From this perspective, covering the right or left extremism can be taken as encouragement to citizens to express these strong feelings. A large number of the people who had voted for these parties stated that they had done so because they wanted to punish the political system in this way. So, showing the activity of these formations will surely show alternative ways of expression of the discontent of part of the electorate.

But citizens and voters do not think in the same way. The information that such extremist spaces that are bearers of extreme ideologies and use violence have already been formed as parties can have the opposite impact on the people who want to make their vote positive.

The citizens who voted for Golden Dawn cannot be taken as a single category. Some voted because they shared its ideology but others supported it for the sole purpose of expressing their discontent because they thought it was the most drastic way to show it. There is also a third category of people, who are hesitant and unable to explain with precision why they preferred to vote for Golden Dawn. This means that potentially, their vote could be quite different.

Surely, there is no "recipe" for the treatment of these formations by the media and in general. Whichever way you choose, there will always be both positive and negative messages to different audiences.

Of course, this does not mean that there should be no rules. They are defined by constitution, political culture, rules for the functioning of the media, rules of parliament and above all, by laws. Democracy is not weak but in many cases, it does not apply the existing legal frameworks. By this, I mean that there is no need to resort to anti-liberal methods to repel extreme phenomena that occur in a democratic society. Let us start by applying the constitution and laws. If they are insufficient, let us think of something else.

Therefore, could we say that you do not share the opinion that Golden Dawn should be outlawed?

This is not possible anyway because the required prerequisites for this are not present.

Let us suppose that they exist, like in Germany, for example.

This is not correct because in Germany, there is an entire institutional and constitutional structure, a comprehensive philosophy of state-building, which is based on the concept of militant democracy. In this sense, Germany is an exception; this concept does not exist anywhere else.

I think the comparison with Germany is wrong because it is not right to set this high standard for Greece, where conditions are very different. Germany has set it, because it had experienced Nazism. This concept prevents democracy from its enemies.

The vast majority of Greek voters voted for parties that are within the constitutional arc, despite the differences between them. The power of the parties that are on the edge or outside these limits is too weak to threaten democracy and drive us to look for alternatives for its reorganization within the context of a militant democracy.

So, that cannot happen in Greece but by continuing the discussion, we are actually legalizing and making stronger the formations that belong to the extremist right. I think that every democracy has its own resources and tools that it could and should use.

There is the possibility of revising the Greek parliament and making changes to the constitution after June 2013. If this happens, the Greek state should consider the introduction of more effective ways to protect itself from party formations of political extremes that may take a more frightening form in the future. In this way, it will be able to protect itself better than now, under the existing constitution.
 
Do you believe that during the next elections, Greeks will face the dilemma “SYRIZA or Golden Dawn”?

My personal opinion is that this view is exaggerated. This is not a dilemma for me. Since a public discussion about the extremes has been taking place in Greece, I would like to emphasize that there are extremes in any party system. But they are not expressed as implied in the specific comparison.

Tags: PoliticsPolitical systemSYRIZAGolden DawnExtremist right wingMedia
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