OPINION

TV democracy

It’s been many years since Greece established itself as one of the modern TV democracies. The only – in truth minor – difference is that in this country, private television was established with little respect for legal norms, and private television owners have never ceased to enjoy wealth and power, despite the fact that their CVs were distinctly dubious. It was only right, then, in his controversial interview, that Greece’s health minister lashed out at «TV democracy» on the grounds that its iron laws demand both the sensational (in the form of a soundbite), and the theatrical in politics. At the same time, TV democracy has driven us to require leader figures that are recognizable – even if some of them owe their recognizability to the fact that they are professionals of empty bombast. A counterfeit TV democracy degrades citizens and politicians alike, but it would be naive to claim that it was established without their consent. A frustratingly large number of people have acknowledged the box as a major substitute for school, the theater, sports, church, and the coffee shop. They have finally come to believe that by dialing some 090 telephone number to vote on whether a reality show hero will leave the program or not, they are actually putting the «people-in-power» slogan into practice. For their part, the overwhelming majority of politicians are unable to break the ties of their suffocating dependence on TV democracy and its petty rulers. The greater their aspirations, the more they have to practice politics like society figures. They never turn down an invitation, even if this comes from a morning television show or the organizers of a music awards ceremony. It may be a rare occurrence, but a citizen will actually hide his face from the camera in annoyance. When it comes to politicians, such reactions are slightly more common than Greece’s World Cup triumphs.