OPINION

TV paternalism opposite students

When they are not covering the ongoing search for missing 11-year-old Alex Meshivili with «hair-raising revelations» and half the television screen sadistically devoted to the excavation in progress, private television channels deign to address the problems of our education sector. The truth is that the channels were rather late in tackling the issue of the student demonstrations and university sit-ins, either because they believed that the subject lacked the shock factor of the issues they usually cover or because they regarded it as more politically correct to avoid the issue. It was not until the first Molotov cocktail bombs were launched that their interest was piqued and they spotted an opportunity to project their favorite screen titles, such as «Baghdad comes to Athens» and «Hell in Exarchia.» And whoever believed that the channels’ procrastination would lead to a more mature handling of the subject was sorely mistaken. On state television, which generally avoids straying from the government line, the systematic relegation of the students’ protests to fifth place on the agenda was to be expected. The approach of the private channels, a biased focus on burnt garbage dumpsters, broken store windows and Molotov cocktails, was equally predictable. As for the TV commentators’ stance on the university sit-ins, one could discern a certain hostility as student leaders were challenged to solve all the decades-long problems of the education sector there and then. Those who tried to tone down their paternalistic tone and show greater understanding did not last long and ended up grilling students about their political affiliations. The less compromising merely dismissed the students as «troublesome vandals.»