The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and the MEDIADEM project organised a workshop in order to present the project’s research findings and discuss its policy suggestions for the development of free and independent media in Greece with various stakeholders. The workshop took place on 11 December 2012 at the Athens Chamber of Small & Medium Sized Industries.
The first panel was about the MEDIADEM project. Evangelia Psychogiopoulou, research fellow at ELIAMEP, introduced participants to MEDIADEM’s scope, objectives and progress, and provided an overview of the main constraints and threats to the operation of free and independent media in the 14 countries studied by the project. Anna Kandyla, research assistant at ELIAMEP, subsequently took the floor to discuss key project findings concerning media freedom and independence in Greece and to present a set of policy recommendations for their promotion. In this context, particular attention was afforded to the failure of the Greek model of media policy-making to support the development of free and independent media. The lack of genuine regulatory independence, the consolidation of media outlets in the hands of few proprietors, the marginalisation of public service broadcasting and the absence of journalistic professionalism were also identified as undermining the media’s ability to perform as independent agents of information in a democratic society. Four broad areas were generally considered to require substantive consideration: improving the policy-making process; mitigating political influence and undue private power; maintaining a fair balance between public service and commercial media; and supporting quality journalism and media literacy.
Alexandros Economou, lawyer at the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRT), discussed the project’s findings, placing due emphasis on the need to regulate the prompt migration to digital terrestrial television and to ensure the independence of the NCRT. Paschos Mandravelis, journalist, also commented on the project’s output, noting, among others, that while state intervention in the audiovisual sector is justified, regulation for the print press and new information services online should be minimal. He also highlighted the importance of self-regulation in promoting journalists’ independence.
The second part of the workshop was devoted to two expert round tables. Round table one focused on ‘Institutional guarantees and policy strategies supportive of media freedom and independence’. Ioannis Panagiotopoulos, Secretary General of Mass Media, talked about forthcoming regulatory developments in relation to digital terrestrial television and the adjustment of the print media and their professionals to the online environment. Lina Alexiou, vice-chairperson of the NCRT, highlighted the importance of strengthening the independence of the NCRT and upgrading its competences for the promotion of media independence inGreece. Prof. Christos Rozakis, president of the Administrative Tribunal of the Council of Europe, discussed the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the protection of free speech. Athanasios Tsevas, assistant professor at theUniversityofAthens, then highlighted the legal rules and regulatory measures in need to ensure pluralism in the media market and safeguard the independence of public service media.
Round table two was dedicated to ‘Journalists’ self-regulation and media literacy’. Irene Andriopoulou, media literacy consultant, proposed specific actions supportive of media literacy and education in Greece. Giannis Kotsifos, executive director of the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers, reflected on the contribution of journalists’ training to journalistic work and output and the role of journalists’ unions in promoting ethical journalistic practices. Kostas Spiropoulos, general manager for ERT S.A.-Television, focused on the importance of impartiality and accuracy on reporting. Mariniki Alevizopoulou, journalist, noted that the Greek media generally refrain from investigative and facts reporting, stressing that journalistic analyses serve the interests of the media owners rather than those of the public at large. Finally, Vasilis Sotiropoulos, City ofAthens Ombudsman, talked about co-regulatory structures in journalism.
The agenda of the workshop is available in Greek and English.