Con­sen­sus on TV reg­u­la­tor

Par­ties agree on coun­cil mem­bers after Vout­sis says num­ber of li­censes in next auc­tion can be more than four

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

After sev­eral failed at­tempts, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties yes­ter­day agreed on the com­po­si­tion of the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing Coun­cil (ESR), a key step to­ward break­ing an im­passe that fol­lowed a top court’s dec­la­ra­tion of a gov­ern­ment auc­tion of tele­vi­sion li­censes as be­ing un­con­sti­tu­tional.

The agree­ment re­quired State Min­is­ter Nikos Pap­pas, who over­saw the auc­tion, to con­cede on a num­ber of is­sues.

Par­lia­ment Speaker Nikos Vout­sis, a SYRIZA of­fi­cial who chaired yes­ter­day’s ses­sion of deputy House speak­ers rep­re­sent­ing the dif­fer­ent po- lit­i­cal par­ties, agreed to a de­mand by the op­po­si­tion that li­censes be granted to more than just four TV chan­nels as fore­seen in Pap­pas’s auc­tion.

The op­po­si­tion par­ties had de­manded that the au­thor­ity for over­see­ing the auc­tion be trans­ferred back to ESR. Orig­i­nally, Pap­pas passed a law that had moved that au­thor­ity from ESR to him. His rea­son­ing at the time had been that the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion, no­tably con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy, had been ob­struct­ing the com­po­si­tion of ESR’s board.

The ESR board, as agreed upon yes­ter­day, will be led by Athana­sios Koutro­manos, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the Supreme Court who was pro­posed by ND. The vice pres­i­dent will be Rodol­fos Moro­nis, a jour­nal­ist and for­mer ESR mem­ber.

Con­ser­va­tive cadres struck a tri­umphant tone after the meet­ing. “We suc­ceeded in en­sur­ing that there will be a truly ob­jec­tive, in­de­pen­dent and strong ESR,” an ND of­fi­cial said.

Pre­sent­ing the agree­ment, Vout­sis said, “We must move for­ward quickly, so that fre­quen­cies can be is­sued in a con­trolled and trans­par­ent fash­ion.”

Op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials were in agree­ment. For­mer con­ser­va­tive House speaker Evan­ge­los Meimarakis said: “We must send out a strong mes­sage that the broad­cast­ing land­scape must be reg­u­lated in a trans­par­ent way. The im­age that must be con­veyed is one of co­or­di­na­tion not trans­ac­tion.”

Pap­pas, who was pro­moted to min­is­ter for dig­i­tal pol­icy, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia in the re­cent gov­ern­ment reshuf­fle de­spite the fi­asco with the auc­tion, also is­sued a state­ment last night. “The road is now open for the com­pe­ti­tion and for li­cens­ing,” he said, adding that the hu­man re­sources and tech­nol­ogy used in the auc­tion were avail­able for ESR to use.

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