Vociferous silence

Of the 16 dailies published in Athens, Kathimerini’s Greek edition was the only one to lead today with Costas Karamanlis’s commitment that a conservative government will end the legal framework which is responsible for perpetuating political and business entanglement in Greece. Of the other newspapers, only three (all pro-New Democracy dailies) reported his remarks on their front page. Most of the electronic media similarly downgraded the story. Was it a mistake in the rating of news stories? An accidental underrating? Or were Karamanlis’s comments really not worth highlighting? Collective mistakes and omissions are a rarity in the press. Its mission – accurate, all-rounded and objective information – demands sound judgment, unbiased evaluation and non-partisan reporting. No one in this country questions the existence and intensity of corruption – including in the current government, which is responsible for the growth of one of the two main poles of entangled interests. Under public pressure, the government took a series of legal measures against corruption that turned out to be ineffective and, in many cases, even worked as a form of protection and alibi for those involved. Consequently, the New Democracy leader’s declaration in Parliament carries weight and is a sign of unusual political courage. Declaring war on corruption – and what’s more, in a campaign period – is bound to energize the targeted parties and inflict a heavy political cost. Most of the newspapers that ignored or downplayed Karamanlis’s pledge have also accused ND of making ambiguous statements and of holding timid or pliable political positions. But why did these papers fail to report Karamanlis’s daring pre-election commitment to fight corruption? Everyone would agree, we assume, that this is a pointless, naive or even foolish question.