A soapbox for all

It’s one thing to get beaten up in Athens’s run-down Vathis Square and another to get attacked in the chic district of Kolonaki. It’s one thing if your attacker is a stranger and quite another if it is the famous criminal lawyer Alexis Kouyias. And Kouyias’s attack on gay community leader Grigoris Vallianatos on Monday received a lot of airtime on television news bulletins and talk shows alike… Friendships and hostilities between public figures are a strange thing. Kouyias was once a rival of intrepid television journalist Makis Triandafyllopoulos but he has since calmed down and acknowledged Triandafyllopoulos’s talents. Kouyias also had an on-air spat with Alpha television news presenter Nikos Hadzinikolaou but then appeared as a guest on the next show… No one has the right to take the law into their own hands but, equally, we should respect the private lives of others. Vallianatos’s «revelations» – that Kouyias’s criticism of gays is allegedly a reaction to his own gay experiences in his youth – are an example of the transformation of television into a soapbox for every fortuneteller and gossipmonger… And if ordinary people are urged to slander extended family members and acquaintances on TV then why should we regard famous people as exempt? On the one hand, we have slander, on the other, violence. The roles of victim and aggressor are interchangeable but the real loser is the quality of our television…

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