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Tsipras proposes a Bolshevik solution for private televisions

11 February 2016 / 18:02:17  GRReporter
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During its afternoon session, the Greek parliament will discuss the amendment to the licences of private televisions submitted by the government whose proposal provides for the granting of four licences for high definition broadcasting (HD).

At the same time, it is envisaged that State Minister Nikos Pappas will carry out the competition which will involve the candidates to obtain licences. His competences include both the announcement of the competition and the granting of licences.

The procedure was triggered at a surprisingly fast pace, immediately after the meeting of the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that the government would grant the licences under its decision, as provided for in the law on media that has been recently passed. The decision to grant only four licences was also part of it. "It is over with the patience to the opposition with regard to reaching consensus on the Council for Radio and Television. Their refusal to agree with its establishment disrespects the institution," said Tsipras.

The fact that the presidium council of the parliament failed in three consecutive meetings to gather the majority of 4/5 required to fill in the composition of the Council for Radio and Television is the main argument in the tabled amendment. The "vacancies" in question, however, were formed by the government in November of last year, immediately after the previous members of the independent institution were "fired" with another amendment voted on by the parliament during an evening session.

The main opposition New Democracy party responded to the attacks. "The claims that the government is fighting with the vicious ties in the media are a lie at a time when, in violation of the Constitution, it is depriving the independent Council for Radio and Television of its competence regarding the licences, assigning it to the government majority. You do not fight the viscous ties with such unconstitutional decisions taken "under the table". Mr. Tsipras is developing a system of viscous ties to his own advantage," reads the statement of the party.

At present, more than four private TV stations are broadcasting across Greece, namely STAR, MEGA, ANT1, SKAI, ALPHA, Makedonia TV. According to the sources, they will do everything possible to prevent the government's plans. The representatives of television stations indicate that the competition and the whole procedure will not take place, and even if they take place, they will be cancelled in court. Their main argument is that the government's actions are in violation of the powers of the Council for Radio and Television stipulated in the Constitution. Therefore, they are preparing to submit claims to the Supreme Administrative Court.

At the same time, the Greek media indicate that the European Union is disapproving the attempt of the Greek government to manipulate the media in the country. They recall that the recently adopted law in Poland, under which the government appoints the managements of state media in its sole discretion, provoked violent responses, activating against the country the mechanism for assessing the rule of law.

The association of private TV stations with national coverage and the Journalist Union in Athens have taken a stand against the actions of the Greek government.

Tags: PoliticsMediaLawState MinisterCompetition for licences of private televisions
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