Although the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, is not expected to issue a decision on the legality of the tender for TV licenses launched by the government for a few days yet, the row between the coalition and the opposition parties shows no sign of abating.
The controversy surrounding the tender, which will see just four permits issued for nationwide broadcasting on the digital network, was fueled further on Saturday when New Democracy’s vice president Adonis Georgiadis claimed that a frontline government minister told him that Skai TV would not be among the bidders that would be awarded licenses. He did not name the minister.
Georgiadis then claimed that the tender had been created for the sole purpose of allowing the government, and State Minister Nikos Pappas specifically, to control the media. He alleged that Pappas will be the only person that examines the applications made by bidding firms.
The New Democracy MP’s comments drew an immediate response from the government, which insists that the tender represents the first proper TV licensing procedure ever held in Greece.
“The licensing process is crystal-clear and absolutely transparent,” said the general secretary for information and communication, Lefteris Kretsos, who added that neither he nor Pappas will inspect the applications, a task that has been left to a specially formed committee.
The tender is due to be completed in August but before then the Council of State is expected to decide whether to uphold or reject an appeal by a number of existing TV channels that believe the process is legally flawed.
Pappas, though, on Saturday said that anyone “betting on the tender being canceled will simply lose.”