OPINION

Fact and fiction

The arrest of Anestis Papanastasiou is – according to what police have been hinting at for some time – just the beginning of a second round of arrests which will virtually root out the phenomenon of terrorism in Greece once and for all. We have no real reason to doubt that, despite the plethora of related reports and rumors, particularly about the brains behind the November 17 group, the way information was obtained and, above all, about the links with secret services and other groups. Just one indication of this was a report in recent days implicating the publisher of the Eleftheri Ora newspaper, Grigoris Michalopoulos. Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who bears the political responsibility for the issue, should exercise especial caution. The public demands that full light be shed on the case, and wants to know which of these reports are fact and which are fiction. It is irresponsible for a rumor circulating through political and media circles to be accepted as fact, but letting any rumor go unquestioned only undermines our democratic institutions. Even more so when there is evidence pertaining to some issues that if proved to be based in fact would have major repercussions on public life. The arrest of Papanastasiou showed that the television media are well prepared for the second round; they showed us images reminiscent of those last summer when the arrest of November 17 suspects was turned into a true reality show, when TV commentators cynically humiliated not only the people but offended journalistic ethics. Perhaps this is the terrible price we must pay for what is anyway a questionable «freedom of the press.» Perhaps it is inevitable – along with the side effects of unbridled competition between channels – that the government exploits the arrests to further its own public relations. What is of crucial importance is that this case be handled in a way that will not allow skeptics to question the result. The government, the police and the judiciary have a duty to Greek society, which wants to close this chapter in its history in an honest and clear manner.