Journalists to fight corruption

The president of the Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) yesterday appealed to reporters to fight against corruption in their sector and not allow a growing scandal of alleged corruption among colleagues to affect the integrity and objectives of their union. Recent news coverage implicating journalists in alleged graft and extortion «has created the impression that the journalistic profession today is synonymous with corruption. This is not so. And I speak for the majority of ESIEA members who work hard to meet the demands of their jobs,» Aristides Manolakos told an audience of journalists and former national resistance fighters in Athens yesterday. «Yes, there is corruption, entanglement and graft,» Manolakos conceded, noting that the current crisis was sparked by unregulated private investment in the media sector since 1989, which created fertile ground for corruption and irresponsible journalism. However, he stressed that «a distinction must be made between some disagreeable characteristics of the profession and criminal acts.» Manolakos blamed the former on a complex and non-transparent relationship between public enterprises and the media – especially a lack of transparency as regards the allocation of funds. «There must be a revision of the conditions under which reporters work and according to which unions are organized,» Manolakos said, warning that otherwise «journalists will become prey to those who wield power legitimately or otherwise. «A code of conduct for journalists is not enough to solve this problem… when the State itself fails to implement laws governing transparency,» Manolakos maintained. «Those revealing what they know should also refer the crime to a prosecutor,» he added. «The reinstatement of the truth and the punishment of guilty parties will ensure the current image of journalism gains no ground,» he added.

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