Copyright: UNESCO

We Covered Press Freedom In Greece During Last Months. Here’s What We Found Out

There is lots of work that needs to be done.

A year ago, on May 3rd 2017 I was writing about Press Freedom for one more time:

Back then I did not know if AthensLive would make it to 2018 but surely we did and during the last months of last year and the first months of 2018 together with OBCT under the umbrella of the European centre for Press and Media Freedom and other 14 media partners scattered around several countries in Europe and the Balkans we tried to cover the most important issues concerning Press Freedom in our countries.

Five different reporters tried to cover the issue and here’s with what we found out after all six months.

We monitored how our country’s media responded to Reporters Without Borders ranking Greece when the organization released its annual World Press Freedom Index. Greece was ranked in the 88th, gaining only one place from last year and thus offering a “continued disappointment” according to RSF.

An assistant editor for a television show told us:

“Usually whenever we suggest something, there are always issues arising with the companies who run the commercials and our opinions are never heard. Everything is being done according to the personal taste of the executives”.

We took a dive in Greece’s private television after the SYRIZA-led government staged a controversial auction to grant national broadcasting licenses.

2018 was the year when Greece’s largest TV-Network was officially bankrupt. We believe that the story of this historic network should exist in English and this is why we prepared this long read.

And as someone watches or reads or listens more and more to the news in Greece they soon realize that it’s mostly men in front of cameras andbehind mics. We tried to answer why the news industry in Greece is so male dominated.

We also tried to address a massive problem. Copyrights. A local freelance photojournalist told us: “Everybody steals from everybody; not only photos, but articles as well. They know this is illegal, but they still do it, because they can.”

And it’s not us, journalists, who believe that there is limited Press Freedom in Greece. The results of academic research were, unsurprisingly, not very pleasant for Greece’s broadcast media, which are to be found below the EU average in most indexes. More specifically, in basic protection and regulation of the sector, Greece faces a medium risk, as is the case for market plurality and political independence. As far as social inclusiveness and representation are concerned, Greece hits rock bottom in the EU, presenting a high risk.

And sometimes hate speech can be considered Press Freedom by those who own and run shoddy media. with This activist has seen their face on the front cover of a newspaper calling to violence against them.

And last but not least, we tried to explore the problem with local news and print in Thessaloniki. The second largest city in Greece is left without any newspapers.

Concluding: Here I list three things I’d like to see in the Greek media landscape in the near future:

  • More independent media being created with the already existing ones flourishing. New business models and why not, cooperatives and non-profits.
  • News organizations becoming more innovative with less boring content and formats.
  • Less hate speech and more media literacy.

We need to bear in mind that ten journalists were killed in two attacks in Afghanistan on Monday along with 26 other people who seem to have been collateral damage. I feel very lucky that I live in Greece, a country where journalists do not get killed but I also feel very frustrated that journalists are silenced through financial means, a threat that does not only undermine the quality of reporting but the sustainability of the media, which for me is vital for quality. With this in mind I hope next year we will be able to publish the same post, with more content and in our own, very own, platform.

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