OPINION

A need for restraint

«If someone doesn’t get a rein on them, they are going to destroy the country,» a colleague remarked a few days ago. «I don’t even care anymore if any of what they say is true. I just want them out of business,» a lawyer friend retorted. This is not an imaginary conversation, neither is it an unusual one these days. The trivialization of so-called investigative journalism on television and the presenters of these shows with their self-professed moral high ground and their fat wallets, the crude exploitation of material gained using bugging methods, the Goebbels-type use of specific details while the broader picture is blacked out – these have all become points of concern for a large number of Greeks. And it is something of a paradox, as those most annoyed by the situation are those with a more acute sense of individual rights and the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Indeed, those who have always championed freedom of the press, even in its most extreme forms, have reached the point of wondering whether certain TV channels and journalists should face legal action. Is it this stream of cheap moralizing and summary condemnation by self-appointed prosecutors who are not qualified to exercise such a role that has led us to think this way? (Let’s be honest now: What television viewer would really accept being tried by a television presenter?) People who have always deemed one’s constitutional rights their only religion are now thinking that it may be necessary to impose restrictions – that someone must step in forcibly and contain a situation that has spun out of control.