Matter of principle

Keeping faith with its long-held principle of publishing what it considers news, Kathimerini printed the remarks of Volker Neumann, Germany’s parliamentary committee chairman, on Deutsche Welle radio’s Greek service, on Thursday, concerning the Stasi archives. It did the same with the findings of the same committee, according to which in 1985 Socrates Kokkalis was involved in a plan to funnel 2 percent of the value of trade between Greece and what was then East Germany to the ruling PASOK party. Kathimerini printed the relevant information carefully while avoiding, partly as a matter of principle, providing any information which is not the fruit of its own investigation. In effect, the claim in PASOK’s press office announcement yesterday that Kathimerini’s headlines «repeat and adopt without question groundless claims by secret agents» is erroneous. Moreover, the fact that the Socialist party resorted to such a blatant inaccuracy casts doubts over its true intentions. The only explanation of PASOK’s stance is that it was annoyed that Kathimerini did not keep the parliamentary committee report’s contents secret. However, holding back such information would be an act of unacceptable tardiness. The most respected newspapers in the US and Europe have not only published similar information but have also demanded full investigations on similar issues. In addition, public control of state officials in those countries is much stricter than in Greece. In light of these basic facts, reading the above announcement suggests that PASOK is adopting the tried and tested tactic of scare mongering. Such tactics, however, are typical of those who lack arguments or are trying to conceal something. For this reason, the PASOK leadership is doing a poor service to its own party. Today Kathimerini is obliged to clarify the self-evident because the ruling party’s leadership yesterday tried to implicate it in the blurred landscape which results from its own propaganda. Clearly, it thought that this unethical and groundless assault would force Kathimerini to retreat. Too bad for its leadership, for this is not going to happen. Kathimerini has no reason or intent to engage in conflict with anyone, but neither will it violate its principles and ethical standards merely in order to satisfy the political elite. Its mission is to provide reliable information and safeguard the public good. This is what it has done until the present day and will continue to do to the apparently great aggravation of those inclined to use their power in order to manipulate public information.

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