Has the media been fair in its coverage of the Greek Referendum? Both sides agree that the Greek mainstream media has had difficulty keeping an objective scope of the news – no doubt due to vested interests. Supporters of the YES vote say that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has used recently reopened state television (ERT) as his own press center. On the other hand, the mainstream media around the world have offered people with erroneous, loaded, lopsided reports. Pictures, that say a thousand words are taken out of context, and viewers have been bombarded with scare tactics on both sides to influence their choice. So much so, that the Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) issued an announcement calling for its members to follow the existing code of ethics and present the news in an unbiased and fair manner, way regardless of their own political beliefs.
Tsipras said in an interview on Thursday that the media deck is stacked against his party. Official figures show that the government’s official line is being drowned out by most of the private media. Of course, he is not without his own propaganda tools, with daily televised speeches (almost daily) that networks are obliged to broadcast because of a law government broadcast media licenses. His ruling radical leftist party also has an affiliated daily newspaper and radio station, along with one website and what critics charge is a “backroom” of paid cadres “phishing” social media.
Where the mainstream media fails, US-designed social media steps in and the government has turned the tragedy into what it hopes will be a “twitter triumph” with tweets, subtweets, hashtags and a bevy of blogs.
It seems that people are choosing their own hashtags and seeking news depending on their own beliefs rather than seeking an objective, informative account. Half of society heads to #oxi #oxi2015 and the other half goes to #NAI, #YesEurope. Greek society is as divided as to what they should be reading and their response to – even interpretation of – the referendum question as they once were over the dress question… Yes, THAT dress! The one where half the people saw blue and black and the other half saw white and gold. Both sides passionately insisted on what they saw.
In the case of the dress question it turned out that the dress was blue and black. The color of the referendum question remains to be revealed. Or perhaps it’s a little like the joke of the bride on her wedding night that asked her mother whether she should wear the black underwear or opt for white… Black or white, yes or no? “It doesn’t really matter either way,” said the mother. “Nomatter what you wear in the morning you will be f+&*#ed!”
Time to cast the dice…