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TV licences and power

20 October 2015 / 18:10:37  GRReporter
3698 reads

The government of Alexis Tsipras submitted to parliament a controversial bill on television licences, that caused a lot of criticism inside and outside the parliament. On this occasion, we offer Andreas Zaboukas’ comments on the online edition

Experience shows that one idea must pass through different stages of moral and political nature until it becomes reality. Television reality in Greece has certainly not evolved as its inspirers and leaders have wanted. To the contrary, we have passed relatively easily from the era of the party monopoly of ERT (the Greek public TV) to a wide network of dangerous "autonomous" private media.

From the ERT of Dimitris Horn (legendary Greek actor), Pavlos Bakoyannis (journalist and politician shot by the terrorist organization "November 17") and Nobel prize winner poet Odysseas Elytis we have come to the uncontrolled situation with a Tower of Babel, associated with the power that is not interested in the quality of the political and cultural product created by it. In other words, nothing has started well and nothing has evolved according to the actual needs of a society that should have taken a real leap in real progress, not making a cheap imitation of progress.

26 years had passed in fear before the presenting of the bill on the normal granting of licences for television channels, at perhaps the most inappropriate time at that, when the situation could become negative. The political system first allowed a huge TV bubble to inflate, existing media to run into huge debts and to impose an amazing rural subculture, and the Gordian knot to be cut amidst economic crisis and capital controls.

Some would benefit by assuming new roles, others would face a catastrophe by losing their jobs. The question is whether that settlement of the problem by SYRIZA would create confidence in television on the part of society or if it would simply change managements. In practice, a scene of the absurd has to completely change, including big companies with national coverage and hundreds of small channels inside the country. A television environment that for years has brought up Greek society through its specific populism, enhancing its lowest instincts.

Would television studios cease to monopolize the same political persons? Would small teams of producers of "culture" stop manipulating society’s sense of aesthetics? Would the unhealthy links between provincial channels and local authorities be interrupted? And most importantly, would there be guarantees that all media would work with "healthy" finances and without indirect government support? These are the main prerequisites for the recovery of the TV industry. The bill itself cannot guarantee all this, but it could open new perspectives in terms of the philosophy of the programmes.

I fear, however, that not many things would improve. The dependencies of the central system on the other powers have reached gigantic proportions, and this is already hard to change. Especially when institutions such as the educational ones fail to fulfil their role of arming the television audience with resilience. Updated forms of networks would very easily be created in this way, which would continue, now legally, the previous miserable state of affairs.

The country needs a total upheaval, relying on serious and spiritual people, either at the national or local level. They would have to take over the new channels, in collaboration with the businessmen who would invest in licences. Unfortunately, no bill and no power could dictate this but only the market and the cultural reality that surround us. Because this issue affects society and its needs. Anyway, the conclusion is that we have governments and television channels that we deserve and in any case, one could not trust a revolutionary change in the media, implemented unilaterally by one party. Consensus is necessary in such cases to avoid possible misunderstandings and misconceptions. I hope that no new status quo would be created, which the next governments would rush to change in their favour. We have to pay for the enthusiasm after so many years anyway and let us at least win a "moral advantage" for the future...

Tags: Television licencesMediaBillStatus quoERT
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