NEWS

Technical problem could delay TV auction

TAGS: Media

In addition to the political problem the government faces with its upcoming auction of television licenses, there is also a significant technical obstacle, Kathimerini understands.

According to sources, the technical section of the National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) has indicated that the existing electronic system for auctioning frequencies cannot be used to auction permits as a different model is required to auction the latter.

EETT sources suggested that the existing system could be modified to auction TV permits but that this would take weeks if not months, potentially putting the government’s goal of completing the auction before the end of August out of reach.

State Minister Nikos Pappas, who has overseen the process of selecting the candidates for the auction and is to oversee the auction itself, stressed Tuesday that the process will be completed within the previously stated time-frame, namely before the end of August.

In comments to Sto Kokkino radio station, Pappas said the government was moving ahead with the auction despite the obstacles that the political opposition and certain vested interests are trying to create. He said that the “narrow business interests of media owners” are responsible for “attacks against the government... rather than freedom of the press.”

According to sources, the government is considering various ways of overcoming the technical obstacle to the planned auction. One scenario, those sources indicate, is for the auction of the licenses to be done manually rather than electronically.

Last week, a committee of the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, rejected a series of injunctions lodged by the country’s private television channels against Pappas over the planned TV license auction.

The Suspensions Committee rejected the injunction requests submitted by Alpha, Star, Epsilon, ANT1, Skai and Mega TV channels, deeming that the auction was not detrimental to them.

In its ruling, the court’s committee noted that holding an auction for TV licenses was one of Greece’s commitments to its international creditors.

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