Because you’re on television, dummy!

Now here’s a news item that went largely under-reported in the international news last week. The Greek PM, George Papandreou, was handling a mini crisis. He was ahead of a hot week, a 48-hour general strike, the voting of the latest round of harsh measures at the Parliament and the preparation of the government for the meetings in Brussels last weekend. So he decided to meet the Head of State, President Karolos Papoulias, and then he planned to have separate meetings with the leaders of the political parties that form our Parliament. At some point between these institutionally legitimate meetings he decided to invite the chairmen of the nationwide tv and newspaper networks.

Now in which democratic country does a PM do such an openly Orwellian thing? And what could have been said in these meetings? No one knows. But the PM’s office never denied their occurrence. As Matina Papahristoudi wrote, “the PM has met the real bosses of the country; the Publishers”.

With the current situation of the media companies, most of which are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the decrease in private and more importantly public advertisement funds, the once super-powerful Greek media barons could not deny the PM’s invitation. Meetings were held with Stavros Psycharis and Fotis Bobolas (co-owners of MEGA TV and Publishers of To Vima, Ta Nea & Ethnos newspapers), Minos Kyriakou (owner of ANT1 television), Yiannis Alafouzos (owner of SKAI TV), Themis Alafouzos (Publisher of Kathimerini newspaper). As Matina Papahristoudi noted “we know what Mr. Papandreou asked from them. What we don’t know is what they asked in exchange”.

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