Pri­vate tele­vi­sion chan­nels fight li­cense law

Coun­cil of State ex­am­ines le­gal­ity of new leg­is­la­tion slash­ing sta­tions to four

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Coun­cil of State, the coun­try’s high­est ad­min­is­tra­tive court, heard ar­gu­ments yes­ter­day from lawyers rep­re­sent­ing TV sta­tions that oppose leg­isla­tive changes to Greece’s tele­com sec­tor which will slash the num­ber of pri­vate chan­nels to four. New broad­cast­ing li­censes will be awarded in a tender in Au­gust and the cur­rent TV sta­tion own­ers want it can­celed or changed.

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing the pri­vate chan­nels say that the cur­rent dig­i­tal plat­form al­lows for at least 16 broad­cast chan­nels, and have lam­basted the new leg­is­la­tion as an af­front to “plu­ral­ism and ob­jec­tiv­ity.”

Me­dia op­er­a­tors ar­gue that the leg­is­la­tion vi­o­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion and EU law, while the EU has also ex­pressed con­cern via a let­ter of formal no­tice sent to Greece by Euro­pean Dig­i­tal Com­mis­sioner Gun­ther Oet­tinger in mid-June.

The leftist-led gov­ern­ment’s purge of pri­vate TV sta­tions is part of its pledge to rid the me­dia of what it says is the in­flu­ence of big financial in­ter­ests and politi­cians. How­ever, crit­ics link the move to Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras’s loathing of TV barons and his bid to re­place them with sta­tions that will be more sym­pa­thetic to his coali­tion. The Coun­cil of State is ex­pected to rule on the le­gal­ity of the changes by the end of July.

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