Greek government takes back media amendments after controversy

Opposition parties react strongly

The Greek government was forced to hurriedly withdraw a series of amendments the Minister of State, Nikos Pappas attempted to pass through parliament late Friday, regarding the media landscape, after coming under heavy criticism from opposition parties and the press. According to these amendments, the Minister of State will have the authority to order the shutting down of TV channels with no licences within five days of the publication of the Ministerial decree on the new TV licences, while the TV stations not possessing broadcasting licenses would face economic collapse, as they would be forbidden from receiving a share of the advertising package. Pappas came under fire no only from the opposition parties, but also from the President of the Parliament, Nikos Voutsis, who claimed that the provisions would undermine efforts by the Presidents’ Council, scheduled to convene Wednesday, to reach consent in the appointment of the new members of the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV). Following the furore caused, the Minister of State issued a statement clarifying that the amendments would not be voted on Tuesday, but would be submitted in a future bill after the meeting of the President’s Council on Wednesday. Opposition parties accused the government of attempting to “violently” transform the media landscape in a short time, while they alleged it was moving forward with the procedures of the TV licensing without waiting for the ruling by the Council of State on the appeals of the anti-constitutional nature of the whole procedures, as well as completely bypassing the role of NCRTV.