Media Landscape of Greece part_ 2
Today Greece is facing a deep economic recession, an acute crisis that affects the already vulnerable Greek Media Landscape. It is really essential to identify how media policies and (Independent) Journalism have been altered through the financial crisis of the last few years in order to shape an accurate perception of things. The austerity measures imposed (I would rather add totally illegally) by the Greek governments and the I.M.F. the last six years included high reductions in salaries and pensions as well as the dismissal of thousands working in the public sector.
On the other hand, heavy taxation on private corporations led to several bankruptcies meanwhile unemployment reached 24% (December 2015). Media working envirnoment was also affected mainly in the print sector, forcing employees to accept really low salaries and redundancies. The profession of Journalism under this unsustainable conditions became prone to economic and political dependencies more than ever, with further consequences on pluralism and freedom of speech.
It is true that a number of press and media corporations operate with long term losses and the financial support of political parties and individuals active in other business sectors. State and private interests have infiltrated into the Media Landscape making press and broadcasting corporations platforms for imposing their own agendas and restrictions, violeting the self-censorship of the employees and the ethics of Journalism in general.
By 2011 Media Landscape of Greece consisted of 60 national newspapers, almost 500 regional newspapers, 126 private TV channels and 950 regional radio stations in a country of 10 million people. Many of these corporations owe their financial viability to these proprietors, “investers” who aim (and have already managed) to concentrate ownership of press, TV and radio broadcasting in order to have a stronger influence upon the socio-political life of the country. Of course the deeply corrupted political system provides the regulatory framework and in some occasions even sources of funding, allowing individuals to dominate the Media Landscape through Media cross-ownership.
According to “Journalist Union of Athens Daily Newspapers” more than 20% of Journalists are unemployed and at the same time 30% have quit their jobs as they are not being paid. Salaries of freelance work into the field of Journalism remain very low, estimated close to £500 per month with many employers to not cover the social security payments which can reach £150 per month. Under these tough conditions journalists, especially young, explore new models of Journalistic production creating groups and networks of people who seek self-employment and Independent practice of Journalism.