OPINION

Corrupt TV

Greece is second only to Spain in the number of regional and local television stations, a University of Athens survey revealed yesterday. In Spain, there is one channel for every 50,000 people, while in Greece there is one for every 70,000. Notably, the ratio is one for every million people in the Netherlands, 1.2 million in Belgium, 2.3 million in France and 2.8 million in Germany. So far, we have experienced the inflation in national television channels – a problem that should have been resolved by market forces. Non-viable stations would close down if operation was based on the economic principles that permeate every legal and healthy business. The survival of unprofitable channels underscores the existence of a hidden agenda. At a time when national channels are taken over by conflicting interests, it’s hard to rule out corruption in regional channels – particularly given that Greece hosts more than 135 of them. University of Athens Professor Roi Panayiotopoulou, who was in charge of the study, expressed concern over the great number of local television networks in low-population areas that do not have the highly valued young target groups or the economic well-being to sustain such a wide range of television stations. The problem does not concern the number of regional television stations per se but the funds, revenues and subsidies that are used to keep 135 local stations alive. Note that local channels are watched by only 17 percent of the viewing public vis-a-vis the 82 percent of the national channels. The television landscape in Greece is «chaotic,» according to the university survey. Considering that the State is responsible for monitoring the television sector, the situation would be better described with words like «license» and «impunity.»