OPINION

Mudslinging

Ever since the first stories and accusations over the alleged involvement of famous figures in sexual scandals and drug abuse made the headlines, Kathimerini has repeatedly pointed out the dangers stemming from the mudslinging of self-styled prosecutors who take advantage of their impunity to vilify the public figures most likely to bring them high ratings. In most cases, it does not matter whether the accused are guilty or not, because any exaggerated insinuations are enough to tarnish their image even if the law, the only constitutionally accepted scale of values, decides their innocence. The mudslinging coming from the TV jungle has overstepped the mark. The latest campaign begun with pompous allegations about illegal slot machines, which is an offense that normally falls within the category of tax evasion – illegal competition against the official, legal and taxed gambling in casinos and state lotteries. After the owners of slot machines had been portrayed as criminals, we went on to demonize the famous people who play these slot machines. We then prosecuted those who bought apartments from the partners of businessmen who own arcades with slot machines. And, yesterday, we reached the climax: A journalist, who has been condemned to irrevocable imprisonment for forgery and who has been cleared thanks to a law rescinding sentences related to the «political trials» of the 1989-1993 period, demanded nothing less but the resignation of Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos because he rented one of his properties to a firm which had slot machines. In a sense, this request was belated. Perhaps, he should have asked for Stephanopoulos’s resignation merely because he knows Mr Nikoletatos, or merely because he once happened to see a gambler when he was young. Mudslinging and baseness know no limits. The unfettered exploitation of some people’s small-mindedness by some determined persons who act by the sole criterion of television ratings and wealth is unstoppable. Past indictments for slander proved not to be any obstacle. «Freedom of expression» has become a cesspool. Enough is enough. The prudent-minded populace and the responsible press are here to prevent the gutter from sweeping the country away. They are here to honor the president and to demand that he dignify his vocation and public approval. As for the mudslingers, the government and the politicians are obliged to take drastic measures, so as to purge the public realm of the mud. These people of the gutter must be relegated to their natural turf. The Socialists were to meet on February 5 to vote for a new candidate for prime minister, amid fermenting tensions between supporters of Nano and Meta.