OPINION

Pesticide for television

There is quality and commercial music, quality and commercial filmmaking, quality and commercial cinema, and so on. This distinction has remained untraced as regards Greece’s television programs. Professors from three university schools of communication, responsible political officials, well-known journalists and television channel executives exchanged views, in vain, at a three-day conference on «Quality in Television» which was recently organized by the Press Ministry. «Quality in television cannot be defined. In practice, it is something vague and subjective which becomes even more vague as television functions according to market forces,» Prof. Stelios Papathanasopoulos concluded at the end of the conference. One ponders, of course, why a three-day conference was necessary if its subject was unclear, vague and largely non-existent for the participants. The fact that the conference wrapped up its proceedings with the above conclusion underscored the superiority and the predominance of all those factors favoring confusion and diffusion of the blame for the current state of television. Quality, according to the dictionary, is the sum of characteristics that «distinguish a commodity or good from its counterparts.» There is excellent, good, mediocre and bad quality. Comparison is the factor that determines quality. The conference refused to engage in this process of comparison and ranking, approval and disapproval. Not only did it not provide a definition of quality; it also avoided pointing out the characteristics which vulgarize Greek television. And these are clear and unambiguous. The real conclusion drawn from the conference is that specialists and responsible officials are unable or unwilling to separate the wheat from the chaff, allowing pests to thrive in Greece’s television landscape.