Draft law takes aim at media industry

Following the government’s failure to place strict restrictions on media tycoons over access to public contracts, the ruling conservatives are preparing to submit two bills to Parliament next month which seek to regulate the media industry more tightly, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. The draft laws will aim at bringing some order to the chaotic system by which television stations in particular obtain their licenses while preventing the numerous media outlets from being monopolized by a few owners. The legislation is one of the main reforms the government has promised to introduce. Sources indicate that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has asked Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, who is responsible for the bill, to speed up the drafting so the legislation can be submitted to Parliament before the end of the year. The content of the draft laws is a closely guarded secret because the ruling conservatives fear that some media outlets may criticize the legislation before it is even unveiled. The government had tried to limit the influence of media barons earlier in the year when it passed a law banning anyone who owned more than 1 percent in a media company from having access to large public contracts. It was billed as a key part of the government’s anti-corruption drive but the European Commission deemed it too strict and forced the ruling conservatives to water it down.

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