From bad to worse

Judging by the promotions and transfers of TV «personalities» being publicized ahead of the new television season, one can only draw a single conclusion: that the ratings war will have an even lower common denominator than before. The major channels appear to be adopting the «successful» formulas based on gossip and cheap thrills. The channels’ desperate struggle is being waged for the largest share of the ratings that do not amount to even one tenth of the total number of television channels operating in the country. According to a recent survey by the University of Athens, there is one television station (local or national) for every 70,000 people, whereas in most European countries the ratio is one channel for 1 or even 2 million people. This alone is enough to debunk the myth that television is a commercial enterprise, obliged to adapt to the public’s preferences which, according to the owners, do not include quality. The main question that arises is why there are so many of these «commercial enterprises,» when their customers are so few and so sated. How have they survived for so long? Why are they immune to market forces that dictate the closing of any business that loses money? The answers to these questions are self-evident. Article 15 of the Greek Constitution stipulates that, in contrast to the freedom of the press, «radio and television come under direct state control.» It is clear that until now, all governments have either avoided or failed to exercise that «direct state control,» an observation that is particularly damning since the phrase «direct control» indicates the responsibility of the agent of power, as this sick situation is not only continuing but getting worse by the year.