Ailing democracy behind the screen

Recent accusations that a member of Greece’s Competition Committee accepted bribes has set off the usual television circus. Once again there is no assumption of innocence. Instead hints are made, unfounded allegations are exchanged and any notion of ethical journalism is grossly abused. And all for the sake of higher ratings and vicious competition. The outcome is that there is little real information about the entire issue, while the body politic is gradually engulfed in an atmosphere of decay. Television tribunals – which everyone criticizes, but only in theory – have once again been set up; hence we see a parade of television windows with suspects and all-too-keen prosecutors issuing orders and meting out justice. True to form, Greek television has failed to live up to the situation. It never fails to reproduce its own shallowness. The obligation of informing the public has been sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism. There is nothing of the necessary dialogue about corruption. Television does not promote public debate – it mutates it. It does not shed light on cases of graft and corruption; it condemns without accounting for legal guarantees. The chronic ailment of Greek television has left us with a dysfunctional democracy. The journalists’ union and the independent watchdog entrusted with monitoring Greece’s airwaves must act without further delay.