TV law con­sen­sus out of reach

Rather than scrap­ping un­con­sti­tu­tional ar­ti­cle, gov’t pushes for its sus­pen­sion, draw­ing op­po­si­tion ire

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

De­spite its ef­fort to ap­pear open to di­a­logue over the way for­ward af­ter its TV li­cense law was deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional, the gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day showed no signs of seek­ing con­sen­sus af­ter it sub­mit­ted an amend­ment to Par­lia­ment that es­sen­tially sus­pends the right of Min­is­ter of State Nikos Pap­pas to grant na­tion­wide broad­cast­ing rights, rather than meet­ing the de­mand of op­po­si­tion par­ties to abol­ish it al­to­gether.

Ar­ti­cle 2 of the so-called Pap­pas Law stip­u­lated that the au­thor­ity to con­duct an auc­tion for TV li­censes would be trans­ferred from the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing Coun­cil (ESR) to the Min­istry of State. But the Coun­cil of State re­jected it as un­con­sti­tu­tional, in­sist­ing that ESR is the only au­thor­ity that can award TV li­censes.

“New Democ­racy views the gov­ern­ment in its en­tirety with sus­pi­cion,” said con­ser­va­tive law­maker Nikos Den­dias, stress­ing that the amend­ment sub­mit­ted by the gov­ern­ment refers to a sus­pen­sion of the ar­ti­cle rather than scrap­ping it. He fur­ther de­manded a cross­party agree­ment on a clear pro­vi­sion re­gard­ing ESR’s au­thor­ity, which will be voted in Par­lia­ment be­fore the coun­cil is con­vened.

The gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal and the neg­a­tive re­ac­tion to it led to another failed ses­sion – the fifth – of House and deputy speak­ers called by Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis to dis­cuss the mat­ter of con­ven­ing ESR.

The gov­ern­ment’s in­sis­tence on back­ing its pro­posal for right-wing vet­eran politi­cian Vy­ronas Poly­do­ras to head ESR, be­fore even­tu­ally back­ing down to pro­pose another can­di­date, ESR vet­eran Rodol­fos Moro­nis, was also a ma­jor stum­bling block to an agree­ment in Par­lia­ment.

The left­ist-led coali­tion also upped the ante fur­ther with New Democ­racy by re­ject­ing its own TV li­cense pro­posal in its en­tirety.

Mean­while, New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis ex­pressed con­cern yes­ter­day af­ter a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Prokopis Pavlopou­los over the coun­try’s “eco­nomic cri­sis and the un­der­min­ing of demo­cratic in­sti­tu­tions” – with re­gard to the gov­ern­ment’s TV law and its ag­gre­sive re­ac­tion to the ju­di­ciary af­ter it was re­jected – and re­peated his call for snap elec­tions.

The only way to get the coun­try back on track is elec­tions, he con­cluded.

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