Saturday, September 20, 2014

Greek Media - Corruption, Clientelism and Censorship

I have come across this "first in a series of articles which chronicle the long history of corruption, lawlessness and censorship in Greece's media and journalism landscapes" (quote from the author of the article). To an uninformed outsider like myself, this is interesting reading which is why I publish it without comment from my part. 

Corruption,Clientelism and Censorship in Greece's Media Landscape


  1. The most important part, is not contained in the article. That would be, how the alliances were forged between the media moguls and the political parties, mainly PASOK, to give media support, in exchange for goverment contracts.

    A small example. Bobolas, that is mentioned there. He owns Pegasus Pubblishing (Ethnos, Imerisia newspapers, some magazines and websites), 25% share in Mega Channel, ELLAKTOR construction company (think road building, probably olympic venues too), 49% of Mt. Parnitha's casino, shares in "Attica road" and Chalkidiki gold mines.

    Psiharis' son, (now president of the Lambrakis Foundation, controlling Vima and Ta Nea newspapers, 2 of the most selling newspapers supporting PASOK for 30 years, of which Psiharis was director as a journalist), was now elected for the first time, a parliament member with New Democracy, sealing a sort of "truce" with New Democracy, now that PASOK has collapsed and since Psiharis has chose not to support SYRIZA. The 2 newspapers were the top selling newspapers in Greece for a long time and spearhead of PASOK's friendly media against New Democracy.

    Socratis Kokkalis, i can't figure out why the author labels him as "center-right"... He was son of a communist soldier in the civil war, who after defeat, moved permanently to the DDR. Stazi's record n. 953/63, reports Kokkalis as a Stazi agent in Greece. In his defence, an ex greek secret service chairman, has said that Kokkalis was a "good patriot", implying that he was in reality counterspying, but only God knows. Socratis, became close friend to Andreas Papandreou and founded Intracom, Intralot, Hellas On Line and a short lived "Epikairotita" newspapert, from which he was supporting PASOK.He also bought Olympiakos FC and his "golden years", taking state contracts, were during PASOK's years. He bascially, was taking all contracts involting OTE and military communications. A funny thing, is that in the Simitis years, if you had a broken telephone and you asked OTE to change it for you, you were bound to get a telephone made my Intracom, either you liked it or not. You had no other choice. Amongst football fans, it was a common joke, that as long as PASOK is ruling, Olympiakos would never lose a championship (which is more or less what happened).

    Famous quotes:

    John Haralambopoulos (former PASOK minister of defence): "First Psiharis gets to know who will become minister and only afterwards the minister-to-be"

    The only one that one could say that was somewhat pro-New Democracy, was Vardis Vardinogiannis, but not even that much as to call it a "core" player, rather a "neutral" player. He is in shipping and oil, Athens Plaza hotel, as well as shares in Mega and Star Channel and former owner of Panathinaikos FC. The most blatant support to New Democracy was shown in the last years of the "memorandum". Other than that, he was playing more or less well with everyone. He doesn't have the background to be "hardcore" right winger. He partecipated in the navy rebellion (he was navy officer) against the military junta in 1973.

    Tegopoulos had a general interest editorial house and Eleftherotypia newspaper, again, one of the most selling newspapers in Greece, steadily supporting PASOK. In the memorandum years, the newspaper went bankrupt, but it's out again, under his daughter's leadership, supporting SYRIZA.

    All these gentlemen, more or less skyrocketed under PASOK's rule. These are the "establishment". New Democracy had to "play with what they could" with them, as mitigating the damage of having a wall of powerful enemies in the media.

    Τhe only New Democracy ally, was Alafouzos, Κathimerini and SKAI tv.

  2. One of the problems in tax controls in Greece, is also the lack of personnel that "finishes" the flagged cases. One thing is to detect, another to pursue. For example, Opel, Mercedes and BMW have avoided taxes for the last 3 years, for 4 bln of tax evasion. The SDOE has issued a fine of 600 mln euros. The case though is still "not finished", because it is being handled by the department of "big debtors".

    The 3 companies were importing cars in Greece, declaring them in much lower value than real. For example a car worthing 50.000 was being declared as 10.000. The company then was selling them at their real value, putting in their pockets the VAT and the luxury tax.

  3. Hi, I'm the author of the piece. Rest assured that little has been left out, the piece above is only part one of what will be a multi-part series that will appear in Truthout on a weekly basis. In upcoming parts, economic corruption, ownership concentration, blatant cases of censorship, legal haphazardness, and numerous other details will all be covered at length and with specific facts and examples.