A noose of TV cables

Grumbling about the state of private television channels that do not hesitate to commodify human pain has been heard for years – and during times of crisis, this grumbling gets louder – but society’s reaction are still weak. Some slogans on the walls or street protests (particularly the demonstrations marking the 1973 Polytechnic uprising, when crowds shout «Freedom for the jailed viewers») and the symbolic placing of garbage at the entrance of television stations are hardly proof that social reaction is deep-rooted, broad or systematic enough. Even more feeble are the reactions from the political system, which appears to have come to terms with its subservience to the television regime. There are politicians who refuse to give up the limelight even when they are taunted by show hosts or when they are invited to witness pornographic footage that is ostensibly supposed to explain something. But there should be no illusions. The chances that these politicians will be punished by voters are minimal. Given the scarcity of social and political reaction, it’s important to note that pupils protested outside the premises of the National Radio and Television Council (ESR) to criticize the coverage of television channels. Secondly, we should stress the gesture of the people of Amarynthos to ask the TV crews to leave their town. The motives behind the two gestures were different but they still sent a clear message: TV cables are turning into a noose. Even when commercial channels are propelled by good intentions (which they are keen to advertise), they soon slide from revelation to persecution, from inquiry to trial without evidence, from concern to exploitation – with an eye fixed on the ratings. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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