The involvement of a former SYRIZA lawmaker, Vassilis Moulopoulos, in the bid to rescue the cash-strapped former media giant Lambrakis Press Group (DOL) from closure triggered acrimonious exchanges between party leaders in Parliament on Wednesday over the government’s alleged effort to control the country’s media landscape.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the latest developments concerning DOL, which owns the daily Ta Nea and the Sunday issue of To Vima, were a demonstration of the government’s ruthless nature and exposed its lack of morality.
“You are trying to take control of the media and publishers. First you accused them of being corrupt, then you work with them and hold clandestine meetings,” Mitsotakis said, addressing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He added that several publishers had already fallen in line to serve as the government’s “media office.”
“You are the definition of vested interests,” he told Tsipras. PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata followed a similar line of attack, slamming the government for allegedly attempting to bring the media under its influence.
“You are trying to create SYRIZA News,” Gennimata told Tsipras, accusing him of imposing Moulopoulos, the former board chairman of the SYRIZA-affiliated Avgi newspaper, on the debt-stricken media group in a bid to turn it into a government mouthpiece.
For his part, Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of centrist To Potami, lambasted the government, saying that for all its talk about smashing vested interests, it had simply taken over the media to serve its own purposes.
Tsipras vehemently denied the claims and shot back at his critics, accusing them of hypocrisy, as the collusion between politicians and the media, he said, was bred by previous conservative and PASOK governments.
He also said the government could come up with a new legal framework governing the media in its entirety on the condition there was a consensus among the parties.