Main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance criticised on Tuesday a government amendment that would give the National Council for Radio and Television (ESR), the country’s independent TV and radio regulator, powers to impose fines on newspapers, noting that this creates a “dangerous framework of censorship” and clashes with the constitution.
Based on the constitution, the ESR is only responsible for TV and radio channels because they use public bandwidths. But according to the amendment, added in an irrelevant bill tabled on Monday night, it will now have the right to impose repeated fines on newspapers that will be paid by shareholders and not the company that publishes the paper.
SYRIZA said that this was “a direct violation of articles 14 and 15 of the constitution, as well as the law on corporations,” and accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of seeking “unprecedented control of the press” because “he felt that his popularity was waning.”
The party also criticised the introduction of a “selective” identification of natural and legal entities for newspapers only, noting that this rule did not apply to television and radio channel owners.