TV tribunals

Who really has the right to get angry about so-called TV tribunals? Surely not Greece’s two mainstream parties. PASOK is gloating over the revelations and verdicts of these television courts and is eager to reap political gain – just as the conservatives did when they were in opposition. Politicians from both camps have paraded across TV screens in various roles, while their very presence legitimized these shows. Representatives of the other estates or institutions have no right to complain either. Well-known judges, lawyers, clerics, journalists and professors can often be seen gracing these panels, boosting the status of the main judge by their mere presence. So before we hammer away at the poor quality of journalism or attempt to reveal some suspect TV conspiracy, we should first point out the role of the self-styled guardians of Greek society who keenly join the sad nightly procession of TV tribunals. Above all, we must point a finger at the two main parties, PASOK and New Democracy, who have responded to these programs in ways that reflect political needs and trends. Their guilt is shown by the ease with which both have reacted to various verdicts, firing deputies and ministers without trial or consultation. If the political leadership and the executive powers are so submissive, what can one expect from the country’s other institutions? In a commentary more than three years ago, we warned that political mobilization over slot machines vindicated Makis Triandafyllopoulos’s journalistic tactics. «As for the opposition, the police authorities, the prosecutors and the other institutional bodies, they have no other option but to be incorporated into Triandafyllopoulos’s show. Only through this program will they be able to carry out their duties effectively and, above all, reliably,» we wrote. What seemed a grim overstatement 45 months ago is now knocking on the political establishment’s door.