OPINION

Tackling television corruption

People in the media are tired of hearing governments pledging «decisive and effective» action against chronic and all-too-familiar problems. The removal of Adam Regouzas following allegations that he abused his post illuminated the suspect activities of numerous illegal television channels. Whenever a scandal breaks out, governments appear to be taken by surprise and react spasmodically. Is their reaction justified? Their surprise must result either from unforgivable ignorance or, worse, a lack of sincere political will to wipe out the problem. The majority of Greek journalists do not use secret cameras nor do they violate the code of ethics to set up suspects before disparaging them in public. They do not aspire to be hailed as society’s moral guardians. But politicians these days seem to pay little heed to substantial monitoring and constructive criticism. They are more concerned about brazen accusations. A study by the University of Athens last year shed light on the operation of regional TV channels that broadcast illegally. On the grounds of their limited funds and extremely poor ratings, the survey branded 135 of them as «problematic.» Back then, this page asked how these regional networks manage to survive with 17 percent of the ratings compared to the 82 percent registered by the national networks which, it should be noted, are also losing money. Such local networks are financed through bogus quiz games, the promotion of dubious interests, blackmail and the exertion of political influence. The report blamed state failure to punish wrongdoers. Unfortunately, the current administration appears to be mimicking its Socialist predecessors in its distribution of commercials for state-controlled firms. Theodoros Roussopoulos, the responsible minister, should promote measures to clean up the mess.