OPINION

Regulations needed

The unethical and groundless attack on the president was actually the last straw. Even if the government is largely responsible for allowing – primarily through its tardiness and omissions, but occasionally also with its own actions – the country to reach this point of baseness, it is still better late than never. It is to be hoped that its belated awakening will signal the beginning of the introduction of stricter yet also still liberal regulations for ethical conduct. The airwaves resemble a jungle and the Press Ministry is exclusively responsible for this. Private radio and television were born in politically tense times and are still haunted by the original regulations. But also in subsequent years, governments have consciously avoided establishing clear-cut regulations so that they would themselves be able to exercise maximum influence on the media. The national broadcasting council – a body whose aim is to monitor and impose sanctions on those who violate ethical standards – has been mutilated by the government itself. It should be reminded that Press Minister Christos Protopappas has repeatedly refused to ratify the penalties that the national broadcasting council has imposed on radio and television stations. Today we are all called upon to pay the price of this petty-political game. The political elite that have so vociferously condemned the recent television baseness and the attempts to destabilize the political system ought to acknowledge their own responsibilities. They ought to finally open the case of the electronic mass media and impose regulations at an inter-party level, always taking into consideration that the airwaves are a public good. The journalists’ entanglement with the political domain is, by virtue of their role, almost unavoidable. But given that the media have been used by powerful economic agents as a vehicle for promoting their business transactions with the State, the traditional relationship between politics and journalism is seen in a different light. An obscure, triangular relationship has been created which not only generates an aesthetic ugliness but also a chain of offenses against defenseless citizens. Amid this blurred landscape, the television stars tend to dive ever deeper into the gutter of scandal-mongering in order to increase show ratings. It is no surprise, then, that certain non-institutional forces have exploited this blurred landscape in order to serve their own self-serving objectives which, in fact, pose an even greater threat to democratic institutions. The UN envoy stressed in his interview that there seems to be from both sides a wish to address the questions without hesitation, «and a willingness to consider each other’s positions, which I must say didn’t exist heretofore.»