The ruling SYRIZA party released the names of its first 16 candidates to be included on the party’s ballot for the upcoming elections of the European Parliament.
Among those to seek election to the Euro Parliament were former Immigration Minister Giannis Mouzalas, lawyer and member of the Muslim community Mustafa Ufuk, President of the Greek Forum of Refugees Yonous Muhammadi and European Parliament Vice President Dimitris Papadimoulis.
But one of the strangest, if not cringe-worthy, moments of the news, was when a reporter covering the event on public broadcaster ERT from the SYRIZA HQ for a current affairs show hosted by Kostas Arvanitis was about to inform the public that the anchor himself was on the list.
“How can I put this…”, the reporter wondered from SYRIZA’s HQ.
In response, the anchor can be heard saying “What the hell…”.
After a short moment of awkwardness, the anchor admits he knew he would be on the list of candidates for some days and explained he had decided after long contemplation to stand for election with SYRIZA. He went on to say he could no longer host the show from the moment his candidacy had been made public. After getting up he said goodbye to all his colleagues and the viewers.
One might have thought the show would have ended there, preventing any suspicious minds of accusing him of conflict of interest -a political candidate using public television- but after he departed a short video with a song titled “Goodbye guys” playing in the background aired, effectively kicking off his campaign. It might have been a farewell video to his co-workers and not contained any political views, but it nonetheless was a tool of communication by an officially announced candidate to his potential voters on a public airwaves.
The candidacy of Mr. Arvanitis was not surprising neither to himself nor to his viewers … It is simply indicative of how the government perceives the role of public television, as well as the concept of journalistic objectivity.