‘No cameras or reporters’

“President Costis Stephanopoulos has been visiting Olympic projects over the past few days to review progress without any members of the press with him.» This news was reported by all the media, with emphasis on the latter phrase. Something which ought to be self-evident has these days become a rare and praiseworthy event. Naturally, politicians have always sought publicity while carrying out even the most basic obligations. Yet the print media never provided such wide-reaching or impressive coverage as television. So now political activities or even a simple appearance requires script, director and acting ability, as in every performance. For example, the health minister makes a «surprise» visit to a state hospital, where he is awaited by dozens of camera crews. The entire hospital staff has been working for days cleaning, painting and temporarily refurbishing places that the minister will «ask» to see. Every patient will have been informed of the day and time the visit is to take place, and the chosen few to appear on camera have already prepared their answers to the minister’s questions. Something similar happens when Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris roots out instances of profiteering in the marketplace, with the television crews forging ahead of him, as witnesses to and recorders of his ministerial feats. It is to (former Public Works Minister Costas) Laliotis that we owe the phenomenon of repeated official openings of the same project, in the form of separate openings for each section. These performances are not given for those present, for those in the know, but for the «great television public» who doesn’t know the difference between news and propaganda. The media’s role is not only suspect but proof of the entangled interests that are so dangerous for our democracy.

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