OPINION

Journalism ethics violated

The violation of the code of journalism ethics by the television news bulletins has been repeated and blatant. With few exceptions, what we have witnessed recently is more reminiscent of charlatanism than genuine, investigatory journalism. Television channels have turned the cracking of the November 17 urban guerrilla group into a bizarre reality show. The vast majority of news bulletins have degenerated into dramatized counterfeit versions of the real events. Every rumor and every scenario is arbitrarily presented as reliable sources of information. People parade on television windows and indulge in fallacious speculation, invoking imaginary public documents. Most crucially, they implicate or slander people who have nothing to do with the case. The above should long ago have prompted an intervention by the national broadcast council (ERS) or even the prosecutor. Unfortunately, the State’s responsible bodies have been conspicuous by their absence. Their stance undermines their own institutional role and, by extension, exposes our democracy to the corrosive effect of such disgraceful developments. It took a telephone interview of inmate Savvas Xeros for the authorities finally to react. Selective sensitivity is not a democratic solution. TV channels are a voracious monster. Their insatiable appetite for higher rates has led them to uncritically reproduce the truths, half-truths, and lies leaked by the authorities. With a similar shallowness, they broadcast the mudslinging by some right-wing circles who accused PASOK of nurturing terrorism. The war on terrorism is too serious a matter to be subjected to political expediency or be subordinated to the search for higher ratings. Eliminating terrorism presupposes defeating it at the political and ideological level. Demonization, superficial condemnation and empty sentimentalism do a bad service and are offensive to public sensitivities.