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Tuesday, November 08, 2005 

Reporting Greece's Evils

Has it come to this?

What's going on in this country? For months now, the priests, politicians and public figures caught up in scandals have been blaming the media for their demise. Every day new revelations of corruption, embezzlement, fraud, drug and sex trafficking, lying, money laundering, pimping and theft keep surfacing and all the guilty parties can do is blame the media for reporting their sins.

Even newspapers have jumped on the political propaganda bandwagon demanding the TV tribunals stop exposing the scandal. The media has even turned on its own by presuming that it has to provide solutions for the problems they bring to light. That's not the media's responsibility, that's the government's job.

I always thought the role of the press was to accurately and without bias, report the events around them. Just because what they report does not meet with approval from their subjects doesn't make it any less accurate or less worthy of being reported. The freedom of the press is one of the major indicators of a democratic country. Greece is no exception as its Constitution proclaims to protect that right.

Article 14 (2) of the Greek Constitution states
The press is free. Censorship and all preventive measures are prohibited.

That sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it? But if you read the clause immediately after you will see freedom has restrictions and the Constitution defines in which cases the press can be censored...one of them being an
a) insult to the Christian and all other known religions,

I guess freedom of the press exists only when the press acts as a mouthpiece for the clergy and politicians.

Last week, Greece's NCRT (National Council for Radio and Television) shut down Athens radio station Best 92.6 because of comments made by journalist, Grigoris Psarianos. He criticised the Church during a show back in July. The NCRT claimed the remarks made during the show were vulgar and then made the unusual decision to shut the station down without warning or a fine. The station has stated that it will appeal the ruling and defied the order by continuing to broadcast with the full support of Reporters Sans Frontieres and the International Federation of Journalists.

I find it hypocritical that the parties who attack the media for being vulgar are themselves IN the media because of their own vulgar actions. The same people are claiming to have the public and national interests at heart by 'protecting' us from the ugliness being exposed. I don't need their help to decide what I can and can't read or watch. I'm fully capable of thinking for myself. If other people don't like what they read or see, I have three words for them: head, hole, sand.

Why Greece wants to take a huge step backwards and return to a Junta controlled media state is beyond me.

Note: I came across the website of author, writer, journalist Nikos Dimos. Read his thoughts and experiences with Greek censorship.

This illustrates some of the differences between culture's ideological definitions and perceptions:

"A recent poll in Greece which had shown that Greeks trust the army and the church more than any other institution in the country. My opinion? That a country where unproductive and authoritarian institutions are trusted ten times more than creative and democratic ones (like parties, media, businessmen, etc.) is a country oriented not towards life -- but towards death."

Now, in my own culture, though some might say non exists (I am American), the following statement would be strongly contradicted by the one above.

". . . I was, probably, the only non-left thinker in the country."

Here (America) that kind of analysis is virtually exclusive to the left.

In fairness, I don't know what the Greek military is like, so I can't say they are deserving of admiration based on conduct, though many, myself included, believe respect is deserved based on the act of involvement in a potentially dangerous profession for the presumed purpose of defending national security and ideals.

I have no comment on the Church in Greece.

I think that if that poll were taken today, the people wouldn't even trust the Church since it, too, has been plagued by even more scandal than the political establishment. I also believe that when people say they trust the military it's because so far, it hasn't been rocked by scandal and people like the order and organization of the military...two things severely lacking from the political and religious sectors at present.

The people don't trust the church, don't trust the military but seems to be all trusting for the algae ridden politicians that are ruining the country and the lives of ordinary greeks.

I may be an exception, I trust the church because of my orthodoxy, I may not believe everything in it but I trust the black robed priests against the political crooks and embezzlers embedded in the Greek political hierarchy.
A priest at least offers me consolation, a politician offers me dispossesion and mendacity

I'm still trying to figure out if there is one country out there that isn't being plagued by this kind of crap.

Has it always been like this, but we see it more because of major media around the clock presence? Has it always been like this, but the politicians today aren't good about hiding their activities?

I'm about put off about the whole world right now.

Either way, that is one of the points of the media - to point out things that are wrong. To say they are bad because they uncover these things is stupid. Why don't the politicians, businessmen, judges, etc. just stop doing stupid things?

In most countries, it seems that being in a position of any kind of power (ok, by most countries I am referring to the U.S. and Greece for now) has just become a personal playground for you and your friends. Do whatever. Be whatever. Hire whoever.

Trust no one. It was Mulder's motto and it is mine. =p

Hi Yanakis. Thanks for your comment. I completely understand your point and up until all the church scandals surfaced, I would still agree with you that the Church offers you consolation. But since it's so infected with scandals like the politicians, I just don't think I'd be able to find solace in that institution anymore anyway. I just don't trust anyone in the Church either. I've become too disillusioned.

Trust no one works for me too Mel.I think it's always been like this but we just didn't know about it. Now that we do, what are we going to do about it? That's the question which concerns me the most.

William S. Burroughs once said "the machine has become too large for any one man to control" and that is my fear when it comes to the answer of the "what are we going to do about it" question.

It is out of hand. More rampant in Western society than anyone imagined. I am not sure I even know what can be done about it.

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