Talking heads

Our politicians have become something of a laughing stock with all the interviews they give. One can only wonder where they find the time to speak to so many newspapers, TV channels and radio stations; obviously they are consuming more time and energy on such appearances than on examining the problems of their respective sectors. However, the most important thing is that despite all this talk, they don’t actually say anything. At best, they announce projects that they are not sure they will be able to deliver. Some have even taken to giving two or three interviews a day while others have become experts at denying the veracity of their printed word as soon as it is published. Another thing is that these «interviews» are mostly conducted in writing rather than face to face – something rarely seen anywhere else in Europe. Interviews need to be conducted «live,» without set questions and with a journalist having the opportunity to press a point or demand an answer to a particular question. Our politicians have become incredibly pampered when it comes to interviews. This writer even remembers a fax in which both the questions and the answers were written by the minister. The «interview» was never published and the likable minister was left wondering what dark forces had intervened. Here at Kathimerini we struggle with the ethical questions surrounding interviews. We rarely publish politicians’ interviews unless they are exceptionally interesting and never during a pre-election period (except for party chiefs), as they tend to be incredibly boring. We take our lead from the foreign press and try to publish interviews only when a politician has something new and interesting to tell our readers and not when he or she is simply trying to get as much ink as possible. It is patently clear that a politician who has no interest in getting anything done at his ministry will resort to interviews and «dialogue,» to a yap, yap, yap that rarely yields any real result.

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