Nov 3, 2012
Greece is undergoing a crisis of democracy with press censorship at its centre, says the magazine editor in the middle of the media storm that has engulfed Athens. Speaking to the Guardian a day after being cleared of breaching privacy laws, Kostas Vaxevanis said Greece was ruled by a clique of corrupt politicians in thrall to businessmen who owned – and gagged – the media.
“There’s a huge problem in Greece, a problem of democracy and essence,” he said in his fifth-floor office, surrounded by copies of Hot Doc, the investigative magazine that last week published the names of more than 2,000 high-earning Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland. “The country is governed by a poisonous combination of politicians, businessmen and journalists who cover one another’s backs. Every day laws are changed, or new laws are voted in, to legitimise illegal deeds.”
With a substantial chunk of the Greek media owned by magnates or financed by banks, journalists were in effect silenced. “It’s tragic. Greeks only ever learn half the truth and that is worse than lies because it has the effect of creating impressions,” he said.
“Had it not been for the foreign media taking such an interest in my own story, it would have been buried. With few exceptions, hardly any of the Greek media bothered to report that I was acquitted, when CNN and the BBC were breaking into their news broadcasts to do so. The international media is playing the role it played during the [1967-74] dictatorship, when Greeks would listen to foreign outlets to find out what was really going on in this country.”
This article was posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 9:25 am