The scandal that wasn’t

When large parts of society get hooked on character assassination, it can seriously damage democracy.

The so-called Vatopedi land-swap case is a characteristic example of this. Greece was swept by a collective hysteria over the supposed scandal, although no one could identify the precise wrongdoing. The political opposition at the time saw an opportunity to score points and it was quickly caught up in the trap of irresponsible scandal-mongering.

Meanwhile, news media indulged in expedient sensationalism. As a result, some individuals were unfairly maligned and careers were ruined.

In an overdue decision, an Athens court on Tuesday acquitted all the defendants charged in connection with the property swap between Vatopedi Monastery and the Greek state. It is hard to imagine how the victims in this case could be morally compensated.

We should at least draw the right conclusions so as not to repeat the same mistakes in the future.